Milliken Resigns, Daniels Becomes Head Coach at Kalamazoo College

Kathy Milliken announced her resignation as head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving at Kalamazoo College last week, a decision made in order to spend more time with her husband and two young children.  Milliken will remain at the helm until August 15th, at which time assistant coach and former Kalamazoo College swimmer and men’s 2012-2013 team captain Jay Daniels will take over as interim head coach for the 2016-2017 season.

Milliken came to Kalamazoo College in 2003, and during her 13 years as head coach led the men’s team to 3 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) titles, and took both the men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA Division III Championships 11 times.  Under Milliken’s direction the women’s team set 85 varsity records, while the men’s set 49.  Her athletes also achieved 79 All American marks, 36 MIAA records, and 1 NCAA Division III record.  The Kalamazoo College men’s swimming and diving team placed 4th at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2010, where Milliken was named the NCAA Coach of the Year, making her the first female coach to ever earn the distinction as coach of a men’s team.

An All-American in the breaststroke and IM at Denison University and a Michigan Masters Swimming state record-holder, Milliken will not be leaving the pool for good.  Last Wednesday, Milliken said on Facebook that she will be entering the world of private coaching and swim instruction.

Regarding her resignation, Milliken said that it was the hardest decision she has ever had to make, and that it ultimately came down to the amount of travel required and time spent away from her family.  “It’s hard to leave my Kalamazoo family, but it’s a relief to know that I’ll be able to spend more time with my own kids and also that I’m leaving the program in fantastic hands with [Jay].”

Previous to the upcoming 2016-2017 season, Jay Daniels served as assistant coach at Kalamazoo during the 2015-2016 season, and also as the assistant coach (2013 – 2015) at SUNY New Paltz.  Daniels received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Kalamazoo College in 2013, and is currently working on a Masters of Arts in Coaching Sports Performance from Western Michigan University.

Before coaching, Jay Daniels was a student-athlete at Kalamazoo College where he was an MIAA champion in 2012 as a member of the 800 freestyle relay and a 4-year varsity letter winner.  Before his senior MIAA Championships, Daniels was diagnosed with mono and could not compete for points in his final collegiate competition.  A team captain with a determination and stubbornness that only long-distance freestylers possess, Daniels swam the 100, 200, and 500 freestyles exhibition during prelims at the MIAA Championships.

When asked about his promotion, Daniels said that “To have this opportunity at this point in my career is humbling.  I’m so excited.  The fact that I’m taking over my alma mater is essentially a dream.” Having been a Kalamazoo College swimmer for four years and an assistant coach at two nationally-competitive Division III programs, Daniels understands how high-level programs function.

For years, Kalamazoo College has been home to the socially-empowering swim lessons program Swim For Success (also Nadar por Exito), which offers free swim lessons to children in the Kalamazoo community, the majority of which come from minority and migrant-worker families.  When asked about SFS, Daniels said that pool time will always be there for the student-run program, which benefits from the help of a dedicated group of Kalamazoo College swimmers.

Currently, Jay is searching for an assistant coach for the upcoming 2016-2017 season.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Carlton R. Marcyan
7 years ago

Thank you Kathy for your wonderful leadership; we all will miss you.

7 years ago

Best of luck to coach Daniels and the whole team. K college is an excellent small school with outstanding academic credentials.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six with the Clay Center Tiger Sharks, a summer league team. At age 14 he began swimming club year-round with the Manhattan Marlins (Manhattan, KS), which took some convincing from his mother as he was very …

Read More »