University Of New Mexico’s Kunio Kono Resigns As Head Coach

The University of New Mexico has announced the departure of its swimming and diving program’s Head Coach, Kunio Kono. Effective immediately, Kono has resigned his post to move to Japan to address family matters, according to the school’s website.

Having been in the Head Coach role for the past 4 years, Kono, believed to the first Japanese native to head a Division I program, racked up a record of 19-11 in swimming and diving dual meets. Against rival New Mexico State, Kono’s squad was undefeated with a perfect 4-0 record and the Lobos’ best finish in the Mountain West Championships was 5th back in 2014.

Kono has an impressive list of teams on his resume from before his stint as a Lobo, including as an assistant at University of Las Vegas-Nevada where he was a part of the Rebels’ run at 7-straight Mountain West Conference Championships.

Prior to that, Kono spent time in different capacities at Arizona, Alabama, and with the Trojan Swim Club wing of USC. While at Arizona and Alabama, he wrapped up his undergraduate and Masters’ degrees.

Kono’s current assistant coach, Jake Tapp, has been named interim Head Coach while a national search is conducted to find Kono’s replacement.

Said Kono of his resignation, “It has been a great honor to serve as UNM head swimming and diving coach for last four years. We accomplished to break every single school record,  not only in the pool but academically.”

“I appreciate our Albuquerque community and alumni members that have supported our program,” Kono said. “It is sad to leave this amazing family, but I know the program will grow and continue to succeed with great student-athletes, staff and families.  Once a Lobo, always a Lobo!”

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swim parent
6 years ago

I don’t know the coach and I’m not real familiar with the program. But I was at the conference meet. I took notice of how well his swimmers performed. I’m not sure what place they got. Didn’t matter if they were racing for 1st or 20th place, those girls battled every race!!!! I was impressed with that team!!!! Well coached!!

6 years ago

Kunio was forced out by AD! This whole situation STINKS! He is a CLASS act and never should’ve been treated this way. He loved being the coach of UNM and NEVER would’ve left on his own.

The current University president is a former UNM swimmer from the 70s. His first question when he met the current AD (Paul Krebs) was “tell me again why we don’t have a men’s team?” When Kunio voiced his preference for bringing back a men’s team, Krebs wasn’t going to have any of that kind of talk! Krebs is an IDIOT for getting rid of him!

Kunio, you will be missed my friend!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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