Indiana Associate Head Coach Jonty Skinner Retires Mid-Season

Veteran Jonty Skinner has retired from coaching, he told SwimSwam in a statement Tuesday.

Skinner was named associate head coach at Indiana University last spring after the program had lost three of its support staff under head coach Ray Looze after the 2018-19 NCAA season. Skinner said he had planned to retire after last season, which is also when his former boss at Alabama — Dennis Pursleyretired, but that Looze recruited him.

Jonty Skinner. (Photo credit: Indiana Athletics)

“I was essentially retired last May with plans to write a book about Brain Training for Swimming until Ray recruited me to work in Bloomington,” Skinner wrote. “The culture in the IU program is exemplary and there were no end of teaching opportunities in the program.  Since I love teaching as much as I enjoy coaching it was fun. The kids in the program are awesome, and I’ve really enjoyed helping them understand the sport of swimming in a way that allows them to take ownership over who they are and what they do. However, I’ve been coaching for 45 years and few months ago I asked myself how many of those 45 years was I off for more than a week or 2 weeks at any one time.  The answer was hardly ever.  When I faced that fact I knew it was time to start that book.  I’m extremely thankful for my short stint in Indiana and although my departure isn’t super timely, we’ve both benefited from the experience.”

Skinner, 65, is a decorated veteran of the sport with ample head coaching experience. His last stint at Alabama as senior associate head coach was his third with the program; Skinner joined the school as an assistant coach after graduating in 1977, returned as associate head coach and then head coach in the late ’80s, and held his last position there for seven years.

After his first stint with the Tide, Skinner coached the San Jose Aquatics Club to a USA Senior National team championship and five USA Junior National team titles. Under Purley’s watch as director of the USA National team in 1994, Skinner was chosen as Skinner as the inaugural coach of USA Swimming’s Resident National Team, then spent the next eight years as USA Swimming’s director of performance science and technology. From 2009-2012, he worked in a similar capacity for British Swimming.

As a swimmer, the South Africa-native Skinner held the 100 free world record from 1976-1981 and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985.

Indiana’s remaining paid coaching staff consists of assistant coaches Cory Chitwood, Emily Eaton and John Long. After last season, assistant Kirk Grand moved to Colorado, associate head sprint coach Coley Stickels replaced Pursley at Alabama, assistant Caitlin Hamilton became the new head coach at Illinois State, and associate head coach Mike Westphal was fired in September after being arrested on intimidation charges.

SwimSwam has reached out to Indiana for further information. 

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Pedialyte
11 months ago

Especially being just a few short weeks out from BIG and NCAA. Can any IU swimmer share some insight.

Gatorade
Reply to  Pedialyte
11 months ago

Mind your business

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Gatorade
11 months ago

Well played, Sir.

Don’ttellIUmyname
Reply to  Pedialyte
11 months ago

I’ve been hearing misconduct

LOOZINGCONTROL
11 months ago

Welcome to Indiana!

Swim Coach
11 months ago

Jonty’s reason was completely valid. Coaches struggle with mental health and work-life balance on a scale you wouldn’t believe. We need to let the man retire in peace without wanting to drag IU through the mud 🙄

James Beam
Reply to  Swim Coach
11 months ago

Great point I know Jonty- a man of character. One of the best in the business and if he felt he couldn’t give it 110%, more power to him to step away. I would hope that the SwimSwam audience respects his decision and not fabricate stories. Seems like people will do anything to bring IU down.

Swim Dad
Reply to  James Beam
11 months ago

I loved getting to know Jonty on the recruiting trail and would have been happy for my kid to swim for him. That said, you have to admit it isn’t a good look to end a distinguished 45+ year coaching career within two months of the national championship meet and less than 6 months from the Trials that are likely the one shot for the guy from Alabama who left Alabama to follow him in hopes of making the Olympic Team. No clue why now, but Jonty comes across as a real professional from everything I’ve seen and heard, so I wish him well and hope there isn’t a significant health or other challenge precipitating this abrupt departure.

PsychoDad
Reply to  James Beam
11 months ago

Nobody can give it 110%.

Taa
Reply to  Swim Coach
11 months ago

The recruits have a vested interest in knowing the facts. If you coached a kid who has committed there I am sure you would want them to know why the associate head coach had to quit right before championship season.

James Beam
Reply to  Taa
11 months ago

he RETIRED- this is the fact!….He did not quit. . Quitting implies you left for another job. RETIREMENT means you are done. Let’s wish Jonty well in retirement!

Not Disappointed
Reply to  James Beam
11 months ago

Heard he was given the option to resign before being dismissed. Retiring sounds a whole lot better. In the past year too many stones have been thrown to live in a glass house.

Interesting
Reply to  Not Disappointed
11 months ago

@Not disappointed and NATAS..hmmm.. you were the one defending Coley and criticizing some of the UA swimmers on the post about Jack Blake retiring..You had lots of inside information then and NOW you are bashing Jonty.
Hmmm..
I think you are the source of Coley effect🤔

Frank-2
Reply to  Interesting
11 months ago

@Not Disappointed and NATAS….Maybe you should reveal yourself with all the insight you have posted on both articles. Agree with @Interesting

Natas
Reply to  Interesting
11 months ago

Absolutely. I support Coley and think he gets a bad rap on these forums bc he is passionate and intense. His swimmers do well time and time again everywhere he goes and always speak highly of him. Ryan Held, Margo, and those that have swam for him for years can attest to his character and would not follow a guy around the country if he was indeed abusive.
No need to bash Jonty here just stating facts. His smear campaign ignited some intense reactions and has been dealt with accordingly.

Frank-2
Reply to  Natas
11 months ago

@NATAS….so what you are saying is that as long pro swimmers follow a coach to a new team he/she is then qualified to lead and be the head coach of a college team? As a business owner there are so many more aspects to being a leader, i.e. recognizing talent/skills of others, training and developing the mid-level management and employees, improving the performance of the entire organization as opposed to just the top performers, etc. From the outside looking in Coley appears not to be qualified in “leading” an entire organization. He may be a good “sprint” level coach but doesn’t appear to have all the other tangibles to be the head coach.

Tide Supporter
Reply to  Frank-2
11 months ago

After 6 months in the job how can you determine Coley doesn’t have the tangibles to be a successful head coach? Especially as an outsider looking in and not someone involved with the team. The transition has had its bumps, already well commented upon, but the team is having a great season and couldn’t be more excited about SEC’s. Coley has brought in a great staff they along with James are doing a fantastic job. Each assistants group is doing as well if not exceeding the sprint group. Pros and NCAA swimmers following Coley does not equal him being a great coach, BUT it is more of a positive indicator than negative so I personally view it as a good… Read more »

Not Disappointed
Reply to  Interesting
11 months ago

Inside information? Anything said is common knowledge to anyone remotely close to program. Maybe @interesting and frank 2 should stay off comment sections where they don’t really know what’s going on.

Taa
Reply to  James Beam
11 months ago

I didnt say he quit I said he “had to quit” as in he was forced to leave the program. If you are trying to make us believe he just woke up one morning and decided it was time to retire….well that’s just insulting our intelligence.

recruitingisnotfun
Reply to  Taa
11 months ago

My kid is a current Junior in HS and recruited by IU. And Jonty has been a significant draw. Of course they told us this was probably his last coaching position before retirement, but they also told us he’s probably be around for several years! Too bad they couldn’t make something work. Wishing him all the best.

flutterfree
Reply to  Swim Coach
11 months ago

The reason is valid the timing is not

zoo
Reply to  flutterfree
11 months ago

The reason is valid, just not completely true. The timing speaks volumes, just listen.

zoo
Reply to  Swim Coach
11 months ago

The reason is valid it is just not the truth or at least not completely true. He has thought nothing of dragging others through the mud lately or who else it impacts (UA staff, UA college swimmers, IU staff, IU college swimmers & IU pro swimmers).

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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