The Indiana Hoosiers have hired former Minnesota Men’s head coach Dennis Dale to fill the spot that was left vacant in their coaching staff when associate head coach Donny Brush resigned in December. Indiana head coach Ray Looze confirmed the move today, and a formal announcement is expected later. Dale’s work will officially begin July 1.
“Dennis Dale brings a wealth of swimming knowledge to our staff,” Looze said. “Not only is he one of the NCAA all-time great coaches but is a first-class individual who puts his swimmers needs above all else. There are very few people involved in swimming who possess are greater passion for the sport.”
Dale, a Minnesota alum, was a coach with the Minnesota men’s team in some capacity for 29 years. Most of that was as a standalone program, until the 2011-2012 season, when Minnesota combined their men’s and women’s programs under Kelly Kremer. With Indiana, his title will be Associate Head Coach for Men and Women, meaning that he’ll work with both the Hoosiers men and women.
“I am excited and thrilled to join Coach Looze and his staff, as well as the Indiana family,” Dale said.
After the 2013-2014 season, Dale and the Minnesota program parted ways. Though Minnesota’s swim team and athletics department never responded to questions about the nature of the separation, but those close to the situation tell us that it was on less-than-amicable terms.
Now the 6-time Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year will head to Indiana to team up with former rival Looze. Minnesota and Indiana have a great rivalry as the two dominant women’s team in the Big Ten, and though that’s spilled over somewhat into the men’s side, it is certainly not as intense as, say, Michigan-Ohio State.
Dale’s most recent success in his specific work with Minnesota’s men’s sprint program was developing Big Ten Champion and 4th-place NCAA finisher in the 50 free Derk Toomey. This makes him an ideal complement in the Indiana program: one that has struggled mightily with their freestyle sprint groups.
“Coach Dale will join Kyle Hastings in working with our sprint group as we continue to invest in this area of our program,” Looze said. “It is my belief that by assigning two full-time staff members to sprinting we will take the necessary steps needed to move Indiana back into contention for the Big Ten title and into the NCAA top-five national rankings as we ultimately pursue an NCAA championship.”
This could spur a rebuild of that group for Indiana: a team whose best 50 freestyler last year was freshman Anze Tavcar (19.91 – 11th-best in the Big Ten), but where three of their four fastest on a flat-start were all freshmen. Both the men’s and women’s teams have great sprint talent coming in, including Kaitlin Kitchens, Alli Rockett, Blake Pieroni, Delaney Bernard, and Ryan Gordon.