Marshall Head Coach Bill Tramel Resigns 4 Days Before 1st Meet

Marshall head women’s swimming & diving coach Bill Tramel has resigned from his position. The school’s only explanation for his departure came via a comment from athletics director Mike Hamrick, which said Tramel made a decision to “take care of his family.’ Tramel echoed those statements, saying “it’s clear that my priorities need to be with my family right now.” The announcement comes just 4 days before the team’s first scheduled meet: the two-day West Virginia Games on Friday and Saturday in Huntington.

We have requested further comment on why the departure came so close to the start of the season, and who was leading the team in the interim (the program had no assistant coach at the time of Tramel’s resignation, though a job posting for the position is available).

The team finished 3rd out of 6 teams at last year’s Conference USA Championships – their 3rd-straight such placing.

Tramel took over the program in 2012, having previously been an assistant at Minnesota.

“While the timing is unfortunate for our student-athletes, we respect and support the decision Bill has made to take care of his family,” said Hamrick. “Our swimming and diving program has been successful in recent years and we appreciate Bill’s leadership. We will work quickly to identify a new head coach who shares the same commitment to excellence.”

“I want to thank everyone in the Marshall University Athletics family for their friendship and support during my time in Huntington,” Tramel said. “I specifically want to thank (Director of Athletics) Mike Hamrick and (Senior Woman Administrator) Beatrice Crane Banford for their support during this difficult time. I will always cheer for the Thundering Herd and that is part of what makes this the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but it’s clear that my priorities need to be with my family right now. We are very proud of what we accomplished over the past six years. I will always be our student-athletes’ biggest fan and will treasure the memories that we’ve shared together.”

Full Tramel Bio below, courtesy Marshall Athletics:

Under his leadership, Marshall set numerous program and individual marks, boasting an NCAA Championships participant for the first time in 12 years at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Catherine Bendziewicz was also named the department’s 2017-18 female student-athlete of the year after earning Scholar All-America honors on the heels of winning back-to-back 200 Individual Medley honors at the Conference USA Championships.

“I want to thank everyone in the Marshall University Athletics family for their friendship and support during my time in Huntington,” Tramel said. “I specifically want to thank (Director of Athletics) Mike Hamrick and (Senior Woman Administrator) Beatrice Crane Banford for their support during this difficult time. I will always cheer for the Thundering Herd and that is part of what makes this the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but it’s clear that my priorities need to be with my family right now. We are very proud of what we accomplished over the past six years. I will always be our student-athletes’ biggest fan and will treasure the memories that we’ve shared together.”

Marshall was also a mainstay in the national academic ranks. During his tenure, the program earned Scholar All-America team honors for 12 consecutive semesters and, last May, was recognized by the NCAA for having an outstanding Academic Progress Rate (APR) that ranked in the top 10 percent nationally. The program, which consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally for team GPA which included a fourth-place ranking in 2015-16 (3.68), stood alone among the league’s aquatic programs and was one of just 34 nationally to reach the standard.

 

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swimws
4 years ago

I’ll take the job

Just leave that there
4 years ago

Based on the comments above, which of these scenarios seems more likely:

1) A major university – in a highly litigious era reeking of king-baby policies toward student-athletes – ignored years (plural) worth of legitimate complaints against a coach….

-or-

2) Said university investigated complaints and found them not credible, yet a small band of loud, motivated malcontents persisted until they took out a coach they didn’t like.

Tramel wasn’t the first, he won’t be the last. It’s a story so old they’ve made movies about it.

Perspective
Reply to  Just leave that there
4 years ago

So your contention is that a “small band of loud, motivated malcontents” including school record holders were so thrilled with the success their coach brought them, they’d rather continue in mediocrity without him.

Try again. You don’t have to coach like Tramel to produce good athletes, and there are plenty of examples of that. An AD is not likely to 86 a coach because the athletes don’t like him so long as he runs a clean program and demonstrates some success. That doesn’t negate the needs of certain athletes to NOT suffer through the “tough love” approach that an old-school guy like Tramel brings. He wasn’t the right fit for the athletes at MUSD. It is possible to succeed… Read more »

Just leave that there
Reply to  Perspective
4 years ago

“An AD isn’t likely to 86 a coach because the athletes don’t like him as long as he runs a clean program and demonstrates some success.”

Do you really believe that? Have you been living under a rock? ADs don’t care about doing the right thing above profit margins and public perspective. That’s been demonstrated repeatedly and not just in swimming.

Besides, you’re missing the point. The comments on here are motivated to vilify Tramel WITHOUT clear description of what he did wrong, if anything. The closest I’ve seen anywhere so far is some vague reference to him using the word “disgusting.” (And if that is your standard of inappropriate or tough love, then I pity both you… Read more »

Perspective
Reply to  Just leave that there
4 years ago

“ADs don’t care about doing the right thing above profit margins and public perspective.”

Profit margins. In swimming. You’ve just lost all credibility. There are no profit margins in college athletics. In 2015, only 24 FBS schools had athletic departments in the black.

Tramel made it clear that he didn’t really want to be at Marshall. He saw it as an opportunity to shine a little brighter in a less-competitive atmosphere: accomplish something at a mid-major and use it to springboard back to a major college program. He wasn’t looking to long-term development of athletes, instead choosing to go all-in for quick returns with some of them to make himself look better. He called his athletes “wastes of talent”… Read more »

Just leave that there
Reply to  Perspective
4 years ago

You’re being pedantic with the profit margins comment. I’m sure you would agree with the rephrased statement using “budget,” instead. (And I’m well aware of the lack of profitable athletic programs out there, thanks.) However, money is one of the main drivers and sources of tension, especially among mid-major schools where they expect big but can’t fund the team or staff in an equitable way to attain their goals. Women’s teams are even more susceptible to this disparity. After all, when was the last time most football teams had to skimp on travel or housing?

As for Tramel, I hope he had goals of superseding Marshall…most motivated coaches wouldn’t want to linger at the mid-major level when they could reach… Read more »

Seth Huston
4 years ago

I support Bill in turning his attention to the care of his mother. He is her only child and lives far from West Virginia.

I will say this as a life long friend from club swimming and a coaching rival within CUSA; Bill is a heck of a swim coach. Since, I am not on the inside like Marshall Swimmers and Divers, current and past, and cannot speak to their misgivings, I can only say that we support you and wish you the best as you begin a new chapter in your careers.

I can say that Bill expects complete commitment and excellence from the students he coached and from his administration, I imagine he rubbed a lot of people… Read more »

Just leave that there
Reply to  Seth Huston
4 years ago

Excellent post, Seth.

Herdfan
Reply to  Seth Huston
4 years ago

Now that he’s gone it will be much easier to find a staff.

Runningfromthecops
Reply to  Herdfan
4 years ago

Be careful what you wish for. There was a reason that program was doing nothing before he got there. This job will always be a stepping stone for coaches.

musd transfer
4 years ago

As CUSAMOM says, athletes have reached out to administration with their concerns and complaints for years but the Marshall Athletic Department has always chosen to side with Bill rather than the girls. MUSD is the most loving, cohesive, united group I ever had the privilege of being a part of but for the sake of my mental health and consequential overall success, I had to leave and find another program. It was heartbreaking to have to leave my best friends but I was unable to remain in an environment which consisted of constant verbal abuse and blatant disregard for athletes’ emotional wellbeing. I wish Bill and his mother the best but PLEASE, do not try to silence the women of… Read more »

Swammer2
4 years ago

1. Every year the team confronted the athletic department and Bill on how they felt they were mistreated. We were verbally disrespected by Bill and it was a known fact on Marshall’s campus.

2. Over my years we had multiple assistant coaches, and I would like to say that the team 100% respected them and their instructions. We did not face these issues with them, and we were happy to see them move on to “Bigger and Better” Things. They were good coaches, their workouts were challenging, and they brought joy into our athletic careers.

3. This in the end will be for the better, but I am still saddened by the fact that this team has now been… Read more »

D1Assistant
4 years ago

Yeezus, remind me not to go near this team. It’s totally reasonable for swimmers to have a problem with their coach, and even to complain about that coach to the administration and, if they think it would help, in public if the situation isn’t improving. But, after that coach has left the program, to go on the internet and kick him while he’s down? What is that supposed to accomplish, other than fueling a need for attention or sympathy? Why continue fighting (or, should I say, start the fight? Didn’t see a lot of complaints before he left, why start them after you’ve already gotten your way?

I’ll pass on applying for this job. Yikes.

cusaswimom
Reply to  D1Assistant
4 years ago

I cannot believe that we are seriously coming after athletes this way.
I think the first comment was clear in that these young women have been trying to speak up for years, to the avail of the athletic department.
Not to mention, now that he has left, he can no longer retaliate against them.
Shame that our culture is still one of victim blaming. Perhaps it’s time we start listening to athletes complaints, rather than continuing to tell women to sit down and shut up.

thankful
Reply to  cusaswimom
4 years ago

thank you @CUSAMOM

thankful
Reply to  D1Assistant
4 years ago

If someone was an honorable, good coach, no one would be commenting these things. if you decided to apply for this job, you would be surrounded by hard working, strong women. But if you are commenting on this thread as well, maybe you shouldn’t apply! you probably couldn’t handle the heat 😉

MarshallFan
Reply to  D1Assistant
4 years ago

The complaints before he left were endless. Including complaints directly to his boss and athletic director, and nothing was done. This has been and issue for YEARS, so you are wrong to say that we are “starting a fight” or have “gotten our way.” No one has “gotten their way.” Marshall’s swimming and diving program is finally getting what they DESERVE, a new coach. And hopefully that coach is supportive and loving and motivates these girls in the positive manner they need. And you, must not be cut out for the job, because the group of girls who are on MUSD are THE definition of a family and consist of the most hardworking, dedicated, fun, and loving girls and you… Read more »

HERDALUM
Reply to  D1Assistant
4 years ago

I would consider a ‘complaint’ to be multiple record-holding athletes transferring or graduating early to avoid one more minute of being coached by Bill Tramel.

Go herd
4 years ago

This man is the reason why Sirena Rowe could not compete at NC State last year, as he would not release her. The way he acted towards his swimmers was unprofessional and unfair. I hope his family better health, however this day will go down in history as the day Marshall swim and dive was finally freed.

Herdit
4 years ago

I think we can only hope, for the sake of the athletes, that they can get a coach that can blend in with the team and help each one of them live up to their potential.

About Braden Keith

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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