Notre Dame Women’s Coach Brian Barnes Announces Resignation

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 18

September 02nd, 2014 ACC, College, News

In stunning news late Tuesday afternoon Notre Dame women’s head swimming & diving coach Brian Barnes has resigned from his position, effective immediately, for personal and family reasons.

Barnes had been the program’s head coach for the last 6 years, including leading them to a 16th-place finish at last year’s NCAA Championship meet and coaching Emma Reaney to the American Record in the 200 yard breaststroke. Barnes plans to take at least a year away from collegiate coaching to spend time at home with his children. His wife passed away on April 18th, 2012 after a long battle with cancer.

“I’ve loved every minute that I’ve been involved with women’s swimming and diving at Notre Dame. I’ve simply come to a point where my family needs to become the top priority for me. I need to focus more of my time and attention on my two children, and realistically I cannot do that and make the commitment I would need to make with the swimming and diving program,” said Barnes, who notified his team late this afternoon, in a statement.
“I appreciate the understanding and the personal support that Jack Swarbrick and the rest of the staff have provided these last few years. My team has been great as well, and I will miss the day-to-day involvement with all of them. However, this is a decision I needed to make for my own well-being and that of my family.”
This leaves the program reeling, after assistant Kate Kovenock was announced a week ago as the new head women’s coach at Brown University.
Barnes’ impact has been felt both in and out of the pool. He has been the spearhead of an annual clinic to raise money for cancer research and treatment, having raied $45,000 in three years.
Notre Dame has not yet announced a plan for his successor. The Notre Dame website currently lists Caiming Xie as the program’s head diving coach still, with two volunteer assistants (josh Skube and Annie Eaton) plus Ryan Von Gunten, the team’s “Operations Specialist.”
Notre Dame has separate men’s and women’s programs, and long-time men’s head coach Tim Welsh retired at the end of last season.
Classes officially began at Notre Dame on August 26th.

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Fishy….the assistant coach leaves last week and the head coach “resigns” a week after school starts with the team just starting practice. WTF?


This could just be a need-based decision, anon…


After his wife’s passing and having small children, I can understand he would want some time off to spend with the family. ND womens program is in a good place and he left it that way. He has done more then one can ask given what has happened and his commitment to the school and how well the womens team have become. I wish him well and that he finds what he needs to rejuevate his mind, body and soul


I’m so sorry to hear that he lost his wife and those children lost their mother! My heart goes out to them!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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