Maiya Otsuka Named Acting Head Coach of UMass Women’s Program

Maiya Otsuka has been named the acting head coach of the women’s swimming and diving program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and will be kicking off her first season at the helm in the fall of 2024.

Otsuka is stepping into her new role after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams. She is replacing Sean Clark, who is leaving the position after serving as the men’s and women’s head coach for four seasons.

Otsuka expressed her excitement for the transition in a statement released by the school, thanking Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford for his support.

“I have tremendous excitement and am so grateful to Ryan and the senior administrators for giving me the opportunity to be the next leader of the women’s swimming and diving program,” Otsuka said. “I am personally elated to continue working with a very determined, motivated and talented group of young women at the University of Massachusetts.”

Otsuka began her career at UMass as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the in 2015, working solely with the women’s team for five years before adding on the same roles with the men’s team in 2020.

She has had a significant impact on the swimming and diving program over the years, including developing and implementing season plans for the individual medley, middle distance and stroke groups.

Throughout her nine years as an assistant, Otsuka helped lead the Minutemen and Minutewomen to a combined total of 20 school records, three pool records and 24 top-three finishes in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

This past season saw the men’s team take 2nd at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships, while the women placed 7th. The men’s squad also sent a diver, Andrew Bell, on to compete at the NCAA Division I Men’s Championships; he placed 20th in the 3-meter event and 42nd in the 1-meter. Bell is currently competing at the U.S. Diving Olympic Trials.

The men and women were also recognized as Scholar All-America teams for seven straight semesters under Otsuka’s guidance, with eight student-athletes being named to the Academic All-District Team this past season.

Before arriving in Amherst, Otsuka served as a volunteer assistant coach with Texas A&M from 2012 to 2014 and was an intern assistant coach at the University of Connecticut in the fall of 2014.

Otsuka previously did a stint as a fifth-year assistant coach with her alma mater, the University of Utah, after wrapping up her own competitive career as an Ute.

Aside from collegiate coaching, Otsuka has experience coaching at the club and high school levels and has worked with swimmers ranging from the ages of four to 18.

Otsuka graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science in 2011, going  on to earn a master’s degree in sports pedagogy from Texas A&M.

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Swimmer2013
25 days ago

One of the best, congrats Maiya!!!!! UMass is in good hands!

Bob Goldberg
25 days ago

Congratulations…wish you the best of luck!!!

Thirteenthwind
26 days ago

Does this mean she IS the HC or that they’re planning on running another search next year?

Admin
Reply to  Thirteenthwind
26 days ago

Often “acting head coach” gets sort of a year in residence to prove themselves. If things go well, they might get the full time gig. If not, it’s a cleaner break.

oxyswim
Reply to  Braden Keith
26 days ago

Sounds like a load of crock from the athletic department, probably a justification to pay her less, and just a raw deal overall for someone who has been there a while. A lot harder to sell recruits on a 4 year experience when the department won’t commit to her beyond the current year.

Swim3057
Reply to  oxyswim
26 days ago

Perhaps a move to kick the can down the road on a long term decision on the program and having an “interim” coach will buy them a year to decide. Once the final terms of the House v NCAA and other legal cases are finalized the complete financial picture for schools like UMASS will be known. The school has huge commitments to football, basketball and ice hockey and with a pending conference move to the MAC next year that will increase travel it could cause an internal look at a lot of non-revenue sports at the school.

olde coach
Reply to  Swim3057
26 days ago

Unfortunately, I fear that you may be “spot on”.