The Texas A&M men are on an upward trajectory, and a rather steep one at that. Since the arrival of assistant coach Jason Calanog in the fall of 2015, the men’s team has vaulted from 38th in 2015 to 16th in 2017 at the NCAA championships. Last summer, Jonathan Tybur made the US national team (200 Breast), cementing the first time an Aggie man had made a U.S. Nationals A Final in over 19 years. Most recently, the A&M men beat the Texas men in a dual meet, marking the first time the Aggie men had come out on top in over 50 years. With so many big milestones, what has Jason brought with him to College Station that has made the difference?
Calanog is no stranger to coaching successful athletes. At his first coaching position as an assistant under Sergio Lopez at West Virginia University, they won the Big East conference title the first year Jason was there. When Lopez moved to Jacksonville, FL to coach the Bolles School Sharks, he asked Calanog to come with him, which he did. There they coached one of the most legendary groups of high school athletes to date, including Olympic champions Ryan Murphy, Joseph Schooling, and Caeleb Dressel. Jason discusses how he learned to develop a program with Sergio at Bolles, specifically one where the athletes are encouraged to continue growing and developing even when they leave the program. Jason has tried to bring this mentality and knowledge with him to A&M and apply it to making the best A&M men’s team ever. Specifically, Calanog is shooting to beat the highest NCAA placing in A&M men’s history (10th).
Jay Holmes, the head coach of the Aggie men for 14 years, is no stranger to hiring assistant coaches. He knows what he looks for in a counterpart coach, and Jason checked all of the boxes. Holmes wants someone different than him; someone that is going to bring fresh ideas to the team and challenge him as a coach. He says Jason is high energy and always wants to win, and many on the team think Jay and Jason balance each other out well.
It certainly seems like the A&M men have found a good balance with the results they’ve been putting up this season. Watch to see how their progress continues at the Art Adamson Invite starting tomorrow, as the Aggie men should have a little rest under their belts heading into their mid season meet.