Yuri Suguiyama has made his first addition to his coaching staff with the Wisconsin Badgers, bringing on former team captain Kristy Brager. Suguiyama was named the new Head Coach of the Badgers in April after serving as the assistant at Cal for the past six seasons. He made the announcement of hiring Brager on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get back to where I consider home,” Brager said. “In my talks with Yuri, it feels like a really good connection. I’m excited about his vision and his passion for the program and the amazing new facility that’s coming up”.
“To be a part of making this program better has been my dream since I started coaching.”
“From the minute I accepted the job, I thought of Kristy as someone who would be a great fit on our staff,” Suguiyama said. “As I got to know her, I found that her character, values and work ethic make her exactly the type of person I want impacting our student-athletes every day.
“She’s a highly-accomplished, well-respected coach who has created success at every stop of her career, and I’m thrilled for her to get back to Madison. For me, it’s an exciting opportunity to work with a great coach and a fantastic person.”
Since graduating from Wisconsin in 2008, Brager has had a full decade of coaching experience under her belt, serving with Iowa, George Mason and most recently Michigan. In her two years with the Wolverines, the women won back-to-back Big Ten team titles and also had their best NCAA finish in 22 years at 4th place this past season.
Her biggest impact with Michigan came in breaststroke, as seven of the program’s ten fastest 100-yard times ever recorded came during her tenure, and Miranda Tucker set school records in both distances under Brager.
A native of Green Bay, Brager twice earned Academic All-Big Ten honors with the Badgers and was named captain in her senior year.
“Beyond all of her great coaching experience, Kristy is someone who specifically understands what it takes to be successful here in Madison and knows the pride of what it means to excel as a Badger,” Suguiyama said. “I can’t wait for her to get to work with our team.”
Additionally, Wisconsin also announced that assistant coaches Neil Caskey and Anton Slobounov will remain on staff.