Olympian Tom Jager Out as Head Coach at Washington State

Washington State University and Head Coach Tom Jager have “mutually agreed to part ways,” Athletic Director Patrick Chun announced in a press release Friday.

“We thank Tom, appreciate his years of service to Washington State University and wish him great success in his future endeavors,” said Chun.

The school said that it will immediately begin a search for the next head coach of its women’s-only team. Jager’s wife, Becky – who served as his assistant coach for the last three years – is presumably out as well.

Jager, one of the most decorated US Olympians of all-time, was hired before the 2011-2012 season. He coached the team to 32 dual meet victories in his seven seasons, and his swimmers garnered Pac-12 All-Academic honors 67 times. The team finished 8th of 9 teams at the women’s 2018 Pac-12 Championships, and never finished above 7th place in the conference under Jager.

Jager, a UCLA alum, was in 2016 named to the Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Olympic Sports All-Century Team for his own swimming success.

Before joining WSU, Jager restarted the University of Idaho’s program that had been on-the-outs for 20 years. Though that team never had immense success in the pool, but during his tenure, it grew a great academic and community-service reputation. Jager has also served administrative roles in USA Swimming (including as a part of the National Steering Committee), and as a US National Team Captain.

As a swimmer, he earned seven Olympic medals (five of which were gold), and six-times broke the 50 free world record. The latter of those records (21.81) stood for over 10 years. As a true sprinter, Jager was possibly the world’s first superstar 50 freestyler, as he won the first two World Championships (1986 and 1991) ever held in the race.

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2 years ago

Wow, bummer!

Reply to  Sadness
2 years ago

I’m not sure if it’s a bummer if they’re best finish was only 7th…

Reply to  Alex
2 years ago

He did so much for the WSU swim program that did not have to do with rankings. Both him and his wife have made a huge positive impact for WSU swimming. It is not all about the rankings, so I agree, it is a bummer for the WSU swimmers.

2 years ago

“As a swimmer, he earned seven Olympic gold medals (five of which were gold)…..”


Reply to  Paella747
2 years ago

A great swimmer doesn’t make for a great coach. Many of great coaches were not great athletes! Just saying

Brian M
Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

I don’t know if it’s fair to classify him as not being a good coach. If I recall correctly, he had some very good seasons, (one was 8-2). Not to mention he really pushed academics, which is after all why these kids are there to begin with right? To be fair, if you are in a conference with Stanford, CAL, USC, etc. and have no diving, I don’t think that program has the ability to finish higher than 7th in the PAC 12 regardless of the coach. But then again, the old saying still applies I guess…Good Swim, Good Swimmer. Bad Swim, Bad Coach.

Z d
Reply to  Brian M
2 years ago

On top of that pullman wa is a tough place to sell to cali kids which is probably where a lot of people come from or just selling that part of washington ovef california to anyone else in the country

Reply to  Brian M
2 years ago

I’m confused what does that saying mean

Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

I think they were commenting on the fact that somehow only five of the seven gold medals were gold.

Reply to  50breast
2 years ago

Something to do with the metric system no doubt…

2 years ago

Dang it’s cause joe schooling stopped training 2 fly

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Jimbo
2 years ago

Schooling fans will be clamoring to have the 2 fly dropped as an Olympic event in favor of a postal event featuring 100 fly practice swims.

Reply to  Jimbo
2 years ago

I heard Schooling trained for a 2 fly in practice. Wait

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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