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.