May 16th, 2012 was zero-hour for college coaching changes. Today, we found out that Roric Fink was headed to Texas, that the legendary Skip Kenney is retiring, and now 27-year Michigan women’s head coach Jim Richardson has announced his retirement.
In a statement released by Michigan, Richardson said “It has been a privilege and honor to serve as the women’s swimming coach at the University of Michigan,” said Richardson. “Michigan is truly one of the great institutions in the world and to be a part of the development of young women has been my sole purpose. Stefanie Kerska has been the best assistant coach that any coach could ever hope for. Twice in the past year she took over the role of head coach, and has proven she is one of the best assistants in the country. It was a special relationship for 26 years that Stefanie and I had, and I look forward to maintaining that long into the future. To be able to work with Jon Urbanchek, Bob Bowman, Mike Bottom, Fernando Canales and all of the wonderful staff at Michigan has been a great joy. I am looking forward to what God has planned for me in this next stage of life. I will always be a fan and supporter of Michigan Athletics.”
That’s 60 years of college coaching experience gone in the same day. Massive waves in the swimming community.
In his 27-year run with the Wolverines, he had one of the most successful runs in Big Ten women’s history. From 1987 to 1998, he rattled off 12-straight Big 12 titles, peaking with a runner-up finish at NCAA”s in 1995.
His successes tailed off at the end of his career – in his final season, the Wolverines only qualified one swimmer for the NCAA Championships – but his experience is undeniable.
There is a lot of “retired” coaches now with a ton of outstanding experience – it will be interesting to see how many of them settle into the peace of retirement, and how many seek more Urbanchek-esque roles where they can really focus on straight coaching and less on administrative duties.
What a day.