The Miami (OH) RedHawks will combine their men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs beginning next season, with a search launching for a new coaching position to head the new combined program.
The school announced the move in a press release Wednesday, noting that the combined programs would begin right away in the 2016-2017 school year.
More and more schools have begun to combine their men’s and women’s programs. Recently, a number of big-name schools have elected to combine teams, including Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Combining programs allows teams to break up their athletes into more specialized training groups instead of by gender. Within the collegiate sport of swimming & diving, the added bonus is what amounts to an extra coach on staff – in separate programs, each team gets three coaches, but the diving coach often takes up both the men’s and women’s team positions, leaving spots four 4 more official swim coaches. With a combined team, the diving coach can fill just one slot, leaving 5 open coaching positions available.
Of the top 4 teams at both men’s and women’s NCAAs this past month, the split has been almost even between separate and combined programs. The #1 Georgia women, #3 Florida men and #4 NC State men are all combined programs. The #1 Texas men, #2 Stanford women, #2 Cal men, #3 Cal women and #4 Texas A&M women are gender-specific programs.
Miami was already set to have a shakeup in its coaching staff, with Pete Lindsay retiring after 31 years at the helm of the men’s program. We’ve reached out to the Miami athletic department regarding the status of women’s head coach Mark Davis, but have not yet received comment.
Update: Miami has responded, noting that Davis will remain with the program until his contract runs out this coming May. He will also be able to apply for the new head coaching position.
The Miami press release says a national search for a new head coach to oversee the combined program will begin immediately.
The full Miami press release:
OXFORD, Ohio — The Miami University swimming and diving programs will have a more modern look to it next year.
Miami Director of Athletics David Sayler announced that the RedHawks will combine their men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs come the 2016-17 academic year. Under the new model, the RedHawks will create a new Head Coach of Swimming and Diving position with assistant coaches responsible for coaching both men and women in their specialized event.
The combined program model is one that has been adopted at several programs over recent years, including national teams such as Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Tennessee and several Mid-American Conference schools including Buffalo and Eastern Michigan. Evansville, Missouri State and Southern Illinois, affiliate MAC programs in swimming and diving, also have combined programs. The model’s benefits include more specialized specific coaching and training by event, instead of by gender.
A national search for a new Head Coach of Swimming and Diving will start immediately.