Kevin Markwardt Announces Retirement As Head Coach At Ithaca College

Courtesy: Ithaca Athletics

ITHACA, N.Y. – Long-time Ithaca College swimming & diving head coach Kevin Markwardt has announced his retirement from the programs after 42 years on South Hill. Markwardt has served as the head coach of the men’s team since 1987, and was an assistant for six years priors, and took over the duties as head coach of the women’s team in 2020 following the retirement of Paula Miller.

Kevin Markwardt guided our highly successful swimming and diving programs, notably the men’s teams, impressively for four decades” Acknowledged Susan Bassett’79, Director of Athletics, “His name is synonymous with ICSD. Ithaca has always been in contention for conference championships under Kevin’s leadership. Among his outstanding contributions to Ithaca College is his work in designing the Kelsey Partridge Bird Natatorium, one of the finest aquatics facilities in the northeast. That is a legacy achievement to go along with all the students he mentored as our head men’s coach and more recently the women’s program.”

Markwardt, who is the men’s program’s winningest coach, surpassed 400 career dual meet victories during the 2022-23. The IC women’s team also went on to finish 14th at the NCAA Division III Championships. In 2021-22, both teams placed 18th at nationals. Over his career, Markwardt was named conference coach of the year 10 times.

“Ithaca College is a great place to work. The swimming and diving program has a strong tradition of success going back to the early days of Bill Ware and Deborah Wuest,” said Markwardt. “I was fortunate to be able to build on their foundation.”

During his time as the men’s head coach, Markwardt mentored more than 200 All-Americans and three national championship performance from Colin Herlihy in 1995-96 and Jack Wadsworth in 2021-22. Ava Lowell also won the three-meter diving title in 2021-22. IC claimed 10 men’s conference championships while Markwardt was head coach and the women’s team won the Liberty League both seasons in which he was head coach.

“I am forever grateful to have been able to coach under and alongside Paula Miller for over three decades. Her drive to push athletes to be their best was an inspiration for me,” Markwardt stated. “She was always willing to work together to do what was best for both the men’s and women’s programs. One of my greatest satisfactions has been to see so many of our Bomber assistant coaches go on to successful coaching positions across the country. It was a privilege to have had some small part in their development as coaches.”

Markwardt has been active with two of the state’s largest swimming organizations. He is the past president of the Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association and was closely involved with the Empire State Games (ESG). Markwardt was the swimming chairman for the central region of the ESG for 10 years and served as state chair four years.

Mike Blakely-Armitage and Chris Griffin have a passion for coaching and will be instrumental in building on and moving forward the great tradition of swimming and diving at Ithaca College,” continued Markwardt. “The thing I will miss most is the day-to-day interactions with dedicated student-athletes and helping them in their pursuit of excellence.”

“Kevin’s contribution to collegiate swimming and diving includes multiple alumni of our program who are career swimming coaches,” Bassett said. “IC Swimming is everywhere because of Coach Markwardt.  We wish Kevin and his family well in this next chapter of his life.”

A national search for the next men’s and women’s head coach will begin immediately.

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14 days ago

Kevin is the best! My time with the Bombers were some of my favorite years of coaching, and I have Kevin and Paula to thank for that. Best of luck, Kev!