Missouri State University announced today it has rewarded its top swimming and diving assistant coach with a well-deserved promotion. Chelsea Dirks-Ham, who begins her fifth season as a full-time staff member for the Bears, has been promoted to the team’s associate head coach.
The move was approved Thursday (Aug. 3) by the Missouri State University Board of Governors at its regularly-scheduled meeting.
“I am so excited that Chelsea has been officially promoted to our associate head coach,” said Dave Collins, who is beginning his sixth year as MSU’s head swimming and diving coach. “This is a well-deserved title that she has earned through a decade of commitment to Missouri State. What she has provided to this program in the last 10 years as an athlete, volunteer coach, grad assistant and full-time coach is inspiring.”
In addition to helping Missouri State claim nine women’s conference titles over the last 10 seasons, Dirks-Ham was one of the most dominant and decorated swimmers in Missouri State history. During her collegiate career (2008-11), she was a four-time All-MVC first-team selection and totaled 13 gold medals at the Valley Championships. She also set numerous school and conference records along the way and helped the Bears to four consecutive MVC titles.
After completing her degree in exercise and movement science in 2011, Dirks-Ham served on the MSU coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in 2011-12 and a graduate assistant in 2012-13 before joining the squad’s full-time ranks for the 2013-14 season.
Her recruiting and coaching efforts under Collins have helped the MSU men win a Mid-American Conference title in 2014 as well as runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017. The Missouri State women have claimed three team championships in that span (2014, 2015 and 2017) with one runner-up placing.
“I’m excited and honored to accept the role of associate head coach for our men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs,” said Dirks-Ham. “I want to thank Dave and our administration for entrusting me with this new title and responsibilities. Over the past 10 years, Missouri State has become both my home and my family. I am excited to share our vision with student-athletes for years to come.”
Originally from Lawrence, Kan., Dirks-Ham has helped Collins orchestrate one of the most-successful eras in Missouri State swimming and diving history over the last five seasons. The MSU men’s team has produced nine NCAA Division I qualifiers with the men and women combining to produce 35 first-team all-conference performers and six conference swimmers of the year since 2012.