Jeff Kostoff, who has been rumored as Ted Knapp’s top target to take over the job since Scott Armstrong announced his departure last month last month, has been named the new assistant coach for the Stanford men’s swimming team.
This is a coming home for Kostoff, who swam for Stanford in the 80’s during a period where they went 39-1 in dual meets, won 4 Pac-10 Championships, and 3 consecutive NCAA Championships. That included Kostoff himself winning 5 individual NCAA titles (1,650 free in 1984, 1986 and 1987, and 400 IM in 1985 and 1987).
“I could not be happier to be returning to Stanford after so many years,” said Kostoff, who spent three years as an assistant at Indiana. “The potential for the team is unlimited and I can’t wait for the upcoming season. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to once again be part of such a special institution.”
Kostoff is still viewed as one of the greatest distance swimmers in American history more than 20 years after the prime of his career. He held a National Age Group Record in the 500 free from 1983-2013, the Stanford record in the 1650 free for 21 years from 1986-2007, and was the 1983 Pan Am Games champion in the 1500 free. In two Olympic appearances, Kokstoff was 6th in the 400 IM in 1984 and 9th in 1988.
He also ran on the Stanford cross country team and was part of a Pac-10 title-winning team in that sport as well.
“The Hoosier swimming nation wishes Jeff the best of luck as he returns to his alma mater and the site of many of his most impressive personal accomplishments,” said Indiana head swim coach Ray Looze. “Coach Kostoff made a huge impression at Indiana over the past three years. His most lasting efforts will certainly be his ability to relate to our swimmers and his passion for distance swimming. Stanford is getting a fantastic coach who will be a difference maker in multiple areas.”
A year after David Nolan’s graduation, the Stanford men won the Pac-12 title last year but finished only 14th at NCAAs. That’s their lowest finish since the 1964-1965 NCAA Championship meet (where they didn’t score at all). The alst time Stanford had a spell this bad was 1964, where they were also 14th – they didn’t score at the next year’s meet, but two years after that were NCAA Champions.
The distance group at Stanford, which Kostoff will have some hand in working with, includes junior-to-be Liam Egan, who was the 10th-fastest 1650 freestyler and 7th-fastest 500 freestyler in the NCAA last season. He and classmate Danny Thomson make up one of the strongest cores of the current Stanford team.