The University of Michigan has chosen Cal associate head coach Matt Bowe to take over its combined swimming and diving program, sources tell SwimSwam.
The 40-year-old Bowe replaces longtime Wolverines head coach Mike Bottom, who retired in May after 15 seasons in Ann Arbor that included a men’s national title in 2013. More recently, though, the Michigan men recorded their lowest NCAA finishes during Bottom’s tenure in 2022 (22nd) and 2023 (20th) while the women’s team is coming off their lowest finish at NCAAs since 2013.
Michigan opted to hire Bowe over other rumored candidates such as Louisville associate head coach Bryon Tansel, Arizona State associate head coach Herbie Behm, USA Swimming Junior National Team Director Erik Posegay, and longtime Michigan assistant Dr. Josh White.
Bowe brings Big Ten experience to the Wolverines, having worked on Ohio State’s coaching staff for five years before moving to Berkeley last season. He could immediately bring some big credibility to the program if Olympian Hunter Armstrong, who turned pro and followed him to Cal, returned to the midwest to train in Ann Arbor. Armstrong has no plans yet with his focus still on next week’s National Championships, which serve as the World Championships qualifying meet for the U.S.
Bowe also spent a year as an assistant at Indiana (2016-17), and as an assistant head coach at nearby Eastern Michigan (2013-16). From a regional-experience perspective, he checked all of the right boxes.
While Bowe was hired as the men’s assistant coach at Cal, the program wound up combining, blurring the line between men’s and women’s staffs.
Bowe is the second Bears assistant to leave Cal’s program in as many years to take a head coaching job after another NCAA Championship season, further extending the coaching tree under 17th-year Bears head coach Dave Durden. Former Cal assistant Chase Kreitler was hired as Pitt’s head coach last year, following similar moves by previous assistants such as Yuri Suguiyama (Wisconsin) and Greg Meehan (Stanford).
Bowe is also the second member of the Bears’ staff to depart this offseason after Cal assistant Jesse Moore announced in May that he was leaving the college coaching ranks to “pursue coaching in a different capacity outside of swimming.”
A native of Silecroft in Cumbria, England, Bowe got his coaching start at his alma mater, Loughborough University, and also spent time as an assistant coach at the Great Britain National Centre in Loughborough from 2009-12. That included him coaching multi-time world champion Liam Tancock and worlds medalist Fran Halsall.
As an athlete, Bowe represented Great Britain multiple times on the international stage, including winning a silver medal in the men’s 4×100 medley relay at the 2006 Commonwealth Games (swimming fly) and a bronze medal at the European Championships that same year. Bowe was also a finalist in the 100 fly at the World University Games in Bangkok (2007) and Belgrade (2009), and swam as a finalist in the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.
Bowe graduated from Loughborough University in 2009 with a first-class honors degree in sports science and management and received his master’s degree in sport management from Eastern Michigan.
Braden Keith contributed to this report.