LSU Names Rick Bishop as New Head Swimming & Diving Coach

Rick Bishop is bayou bound and will soon be announced as the next head coach of the LSU swimming & diving program, sources close to the program say.

Update: Assistant coach Steve Mellor, who led the LSU sprint group that included Tokyo 2020 Olympian Brooks Curry, will remain with the program under Bishop.

Bishop, who has been a party-of-interest for several high profile collegiate coaching positions this offseason, has spent the last 8 seasons as an associate head coach at the University of Michigan. There, he helped lead the women’s program to 3 consecutive Big Ten Championships from 2016-2018 and back-to-back top 4 team finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2018 and 2019.

Among the swimmers who train primarily with Bishop are NCAA Champion, World Champion, and U.S. Open Record breaker Maggie MacNeil. Bishop is also the primary coach of Michigan post-grad Siobhan Haughey, who has broken a number of Hong Kong National Records and become a strong medal contender for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Bishop leaves for Hong Kong on Friday morning for a pre-Olympic training camp and will travel to the Olympic Games with Haughey in July. Bishop has been writing the training for the National Team group in Hong Kong that includes Jamie Yeung and Ian Ho, who recently broke the Hong Kong record in the 50 free.

Bishop’s international appointments include as an assistant coach for the U.S. at the 2016 FINA Swimming World Championships in Canada and the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan. He also spent 2 years on the Brazilian National Team coaching staff, serving as an assistant coach at the 1995 World Championships in Rio and 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina. He led the Brazilian women’s team at the 1996 Olympic Games.

He also served as an assistant for Jamaica at the 1998 Pan American Games and the head coach for the Netherlands Antilles at the 2007 World Championships.

Prior to joining the staff at Michigan, Bishop spent 4 years working at USA Swimming working in the sport performance role. He also had stops as an assistant at Harvard (1988-91), the University of Memphis Tiger Swimming Club (1992-96), and with two of the most historic high school programs in the country: as an assistant at the famed Bolles School (1998-2002) as the head coach The Baylor School (2002-2006), and back at The Bolles School as the head coach in 2006.

Bishop replaces outgoing head coach Dave Geyer, who resigned from the program after 16 seasons with the Tigers, including the last 11 as head coach.

LSU has consistently qualified swimmers to NCAAs while Geyer has been at the helm, although they’ve been been unable to break into the top of the SEC as a team. At the 2021 SEC Championships, LSU finished 10th out of 12 women’s teams, and 9th out of 10 men’s teams. The highest the men’s and women’s teams finished at SEC over the past 11 years was 5th. The Tigers men took 5th in consecutive seasons (2011 & 2012), while the women’s team took 5th in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

LSU rising junior Brooks Curry, the 2020 SEC Champion in the 100 free as a freshman, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team last week by placing 4th in that event in Omaha. That makes him the first American Olympian in program history. Curry trains primarily in the sprint group with associate head coach Steve Mellor.

Bishop is the second assistant to leave the Michigan staff this offseason. Nikki Kett announced in early April that she would be stepping away from coaching to pursue a dryside career.

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Sunshine State
1 year ago

Geaux Tigers!

Old tiger
1 year ago

Why? I thought they stated they wanted an impact hire? This guy was recently Beaten out for the Houston job, past jobs before Michigan were quick stops at 2 prep schools during times of their worst performances historically speaking.

Unpopular opinion, LSU needed a warm body to coach swimming and this guy was available. This isn’t an upgrade from the past staff in any capacity.

swimapologist
Reply to  Old tiger
1 year ago

Uhhh way more popular opinion:

Siobhan Haughey & Maggie MacNeil.

I don’t know how this is going to impact the men’s team, but hard to believe there won’t be improvements to the women’s team in a hurry.

harambe
1 year ago

Strong hire, I hear he can move an unlimited number of spaces diagonally

Michfan
Reply to  harambe
1 year ago

Rick is a great guy and an incredible coach. Strong hire by LSU.

Swimmer
1 year ago

Hopefully the new coach will care more about the mental health of their athletes

Go Blue
1 year ago

I wonder why he decided to leave suddenly, the Michigan women’s team seemed to be doing really well? A second coach leaving during the same season is always interesting for what will happen to the swimmers on the team, and if there was a reason why this is happening.

ACC fan
1 year ago

Siobhan Haughey will be Olympic Champion this summer in the 200 free. That’ll be a nice feather in Rick’s cap.

AUSSIEAUSSIEAUSSIEOIOIOI
Reply to  ACC fan
1 year ago

You clearly don’t know who Ariarne Titmus is then…

AUSSIEAUSSIEAUSSIEOIOIOI
Reply to  ACC fan
1 year ago

You mustn’t know who Ariarne Titmus is then…

SwimMom
1 year ago

Wonder if he will be body shaming and bullying to some on this new team like at UMich??? Wonder if it will also be ignored like at UMIch. Ask the Girls who left on “medical leave”.

LSU123
Reply to  SwimMom
1 year ago

Does anyone want to shed more light on this comment?

SwimFan91
Reply to  SwimMom
1 year ago

with an accusation as this you really need to back it up with proof or keep it to yourself.

Blue
Reply to  SwimFan91
1 year ago

Maybe ask alumni who were asked to partake in a climate assessment run by administration about the team….

SwimMom
Reply to  SwimFan91
1 year ago

I have proof.

swimgirl9
Reply to  SwimMom
1 year ago

true statement ^ heard from multiple swimmers that he created a negative environment and would ignore certain girls. He would also gossip about other personal things with other girls on the team. Some were ignored for months at a time. Success doesn’t always mean it’s been done in the right way.

Coach
1 year ago

This is a strong hire for LSU. Rick will have an uphill climb with the poor facilities relative to SEC standards (and the looming cloud of potential NCAA sanctions against basketball and football), but LSU seemed to do more than just make an easy hire, which is always good to see in college swimming.

SUNY Cal
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

I agree. I think Rick will do a great job. He had really paid his dues, being at MI for 8 years as an assistant. About time he gets his chance at head coach. Hopefully, Mike Bottom can bring in someone good to replace him for women’s team. By the way, isn’t Mike Bottom up in his 60’s?? Wonder how long he will stay coaching?

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  SUNY Cal
1 year ago

what I understand seems that assistant already doing lots of work so he can go till 80s easily.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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