Michigan to Join Men’s, Women’s Teams Under Mike Bottom

  7 Braden Keith | August 10th, 2012 | College, Featured, News

After a long wait and months of suspense since the retirement of 27-year coach Jim Richardson, questions have mounted around the Michigan women’s swim team. Unlike Stanford, the other job left vacant, Michigan had seen this move coming, and Richardson’s retirement was announced in the spring (as compared to Lea Maurer, who retired just after the Olympic Trials).

We finally got our question answered: men’s coach Mike Bottom will take over the women’s team in a unification of the men’s and women’s programs in Ann Arbor. This is the second time this summer that we’ve seen separate men’s and women’s programs unified under a single head coach (after Tennessee).

In reality, now that we’ve heard the answer, it makes sense. There’s no way that a program like Michigan could reasonably go from April until midway through August without a head coach.

He has a tall task ahead of him with the two programs combined. The women will be trying to rise to the level of the men’s program; though the lady Wolverines have had success in their history, in 2012 they sent only a single swimmer to the NCAA Championships, and she (Caitlin Dauw) graduated. But they have some things working in their favor, not the least of which is the “Michigan Swimming” name. Even when the programs were separate, a big-name program is enough to get the attention of a recruit; to get the coaches into their living rooms.

But Richardson also left them with a very good incoming freshman class to make their nucleus. Canadian Marni Oldershaw can swim just about anything; she’s a phenomenal IM’er, and will likely be called on to fill many other roles for this team. Combined with Jessica WolfMarie Georger, and Zoe Mattingly, the Wolverine women have four top-100 recruits coming in, per the CollegeSwimming.com rankings.

The interesting part about this combination is the different levels of the two programs. The Michigan men placed 5th overall at NCAA’s last year; the Michigan women didn’t. That’s as compared to Tennessee, where the women had a more successful season in 2012, but both programs are clearly high-performing. Bottom will have to be creative to figure out how to manage the two programs and make them both elite. Fortunately, creativity and flexibility is one of Bottom’s biggest assets as a coach.

He is already planning on altering the coaching structure within the new combined program, which is a necessity when programs are combined like this. That will include two associate head coaches and two assistant coaches (though none of those appointments have been announced yet).

Comments

  1. Randall Stevens says:
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    Um… What? Didn’t see that coming (actually). But I guess it makes sense. Hopefully the UofM women’s team actually comes back towards the top now…

  2. Sam I Am says:
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    Really? Jim Richardson it’s to bad you retired, I am sure this is not what you wanted.

  3. Roque Santos says:
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    Great for Mike and Michigan!!

  4. AmericanSwimSchool says:
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    Josh White for Associate Head Men’s Coach!

  5. Jennifer Parks says:
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    Mike: Now that UM has chosen this coaching model, I encourage you to hire a highly successful WOMAN coach to help lead the Women’s team! Having been a fairly successful woman coach ( you can ask Stu I. or Wendy Ingraham), I feel extremely sure that women can be successful coaches.

    I attended UM, working on a Ph.D., while coaching and teaching at MSU; Michigan has a long history of Women’s Athletics that I researchedat that time, long before ’73 when I came to MSU…I swam at 1st Nat. collegiate Meet, held in ’63. held at MSU, promulgated by Buck and Rosemary Mann Dawson – UM won, Nancy Wagetha Rideout former USMS Pres. swam then..

    Please know that I understand the “pull” of running a program, not in conflict, with yours; had a difficult conflict with the former MSU men’s coach….we were much more successul at that time. But when Bill Wadley took over the Men’s program for his first year, we did try to work together more closely… the women liked his putting his arm around them…I was the “bad cop,” so I left to go back to just teaching….guys, mostly, how to be coaches…taught Sport Psychology, Contemporary Issues in Sport, Stress Management (am a firm believer in mental training for swimmers -starting right along with physical training – didn’t have that when I swam in ’60 Olympic Trials in Detroit w/UMers Bumpy Jones, Dave Gillanders, Sue Thrasher, etc.)

    Anyway, I think that many of the women’s team would appreciate your effort not to get just a malleable “yes-woman/man,” but a WOMAN COACH who has excellent credentials, camaraderie, confidence, and most of all, coaching abilities that compliment your own….and your other staff. Then support her like crazy and the women’s program can move back to the excellent level of the men’s!!
    Best Wishes for your Choice, Swimmingly, Jennifer Parks, former MSU, EMU, Wellesley, SUNY-Cortland Coach…and former volunteer assistant at West Ottawa HS, Holland, MI

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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