Penn State Fires Tim Murphy as Head Swimming & Diving Coach Amid Leave of Absence

Penn State University has announced that they will “not renew the contract” of men’s and women’s head swimming & diving coach Tim Murphy.

“We would like to thank Tim for his service to Penn State for the last 11 years and wish him all the best in the future,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Patrick Kraft.

Murphy, who took over the program in the 2013-2014 season, has been on an “unspecified leave of absence” from the program. In his absence, Erin Matyus is serving as the interim women’s head coach and Dan Carrington is serving as the interim men’s head coach. While the school declined to comment on when the leave of absence began, sources tell SwimSwam that it was sometime in the fall semester.

The Nittany Lion men placed 7th out of eight teams at the Big Ten Championships in February while the women placed 9th out of 12 teams. Penn State didn’t send any women’s swimmers to the NCAA Championships, but three men — Cooper Morley (50 free and 100 back), Victor Baganha (100 fly), and Mariano Lazzerini (100 breast and 200 breast) qualified to represent the Nittany Lions next week at IUPUI along with three relays. A few days before the meet, Baganha scratched out of NCAAs with an undisclosed health issue.

The men’s team wound up scoring 8 points to finish 34th at the NCAA Championships. They scored 2 points via a 16th-place finish in the 400 medley relay, while Cooper Morley and Mariano Lazzerini each scored 3 points individually via 14th place finishes in the 100 back and 100 breast, respectively.

Lazzerini was the Big Ten Champion in the 100 breast. That was Penn State’s 15th Big Ten event champion in men’s swimming & diving all-time and first since 2021.

Three female swimmers came forward with accusations of bullying against Murphy back in 2018, prompting a review of the program by the university’s athletics integrity officer. Other swimmers, including Irish Olympian Shane Ryan, spoke out in support of Murphy.

Prior to Penn State, Murphy was the head coach of the men’s team at Harvard for 15 years, where he coached Olympic open water swmimer Alex Meyer. He was the head coach of the US men’s open water team at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Prior to Harvard, he was the head coach of the Wilton YMCA Wahoos in Connecticut, where he won 7 YMCA National Championships in 13 years.

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data doesn't lie...
2 days ago

If you look at the swim cloud rankings for the classes of 2019 – 2025, Penn State has only landed 4 female swimmers ranked top 10 in the state across all 6 of those years (two of which were in 2019). For the men, its even worse, only 2 swimmers (both in 2023). It is a state that has some very deep talent that most coaches would be all over. Also, many swimmers who follow college football grow up cheering for Penn State in the majority of the state. It seems like there is great opportunity if they make a strong hire and the spend some energy around a coherent recruiting strategy. Pennsylvania is a state in which the men… Read more »

Big fella
Reply to  data doesn't lie...
2 days ago

Pitt has the same issue

5 days ago

He was completely toxic and the school allowed him to stay. His success or failure has nothing to do with times, the pool, etc. He ruined lives. He and his staff. Many were let go to cover for Murphy. But it was under him that all bad things happened. Those from outside have no clue what he did.

Reply to  John
2 days ago


PSU Insider Insider Insider Inside her
8 days ago

I heard Bill Belicheck is going to be brought in for an interview. Pat Kraft has ties to Boston!

Pony Boy
8 days ago

It’s sad to see a program get rid of a coach in the middle of a health related leave of absence. Whether Tim deserved to stay or not is irrelevant. PSU should have waited until Tim was healthy enough to return then made a decision. A coach shouldn’t have to worry about their job when they’re fighting for their health

Reply to  Pony Boy
8 days ago

Karma- He sure as hell didn’t care when he constantly threatened to cut swimmers day in and day out. Imagine signing on to a team and hearing that constantly. Also cut like 18 swimmers a few years ago…..Many moved on to bigger and better things…. And the ones that transferred are killing it at other schools. How many coaches left in the past 5 years—- He created a toxic environment there from top to bottom. He deserves everything he gets.

James Franklin's Burner
8 days ago

About time!!! Tim Murphy couldn’t teach a dolphin how to swim. Maybe he should go back to boxing and fight Jake Paul for a nice retirement check. I think the Nittany Lion community should come together this weekend to help clean the pool and remove any and all stains he has left on the program. Bring out the Oxi-Clean, Clorox Wipes and Febreze. It might take the whole weekend to remove it all. Tim Murphy has definitely left his (skid) mark on the program and I’m glad Pat Kraft pulled the plug. Onward State! #WeAre #Unrivaled 1-0!

8 days ago

Worst coach ever. Should have happened years ago. Horrible for mental health of athletes. Ruined Penn State Swimming.

Penn State Alum
Reply to  Collette
8 days ago

“Horrible for the mental health of athletes” aka they never really wanted to swim in college in the first place and becasue they refused to grow up…

Reply to  Penn State Alum
8 days ago

Swimmers are some of the hardest working athletes you will ever meet. You commit to a college in the BiG 10—your pretty damn grown up and have been dedicated to swimming for quite some time.

Reply to  Penn State Alum
6 days ago

As someone who swam 4 years under Tim, I can confirm he was the worst part of my college days. Dude was constantly threatening you, berating you, and insulting you to the point of tears if you weren’t one of his favorites. I didn’t quit because I love swimming but it destroyed my mental health. Admin knew this, didn’t do anything at the time, glad they finally got around to it.

Reply to  Swum
5 days ago

When did you swim under Tim? I know someone who swam for him I believe 2015-2019 and I never heard of any bullying…but I’m also not surprised either. I remember him not being well liked.

Reply to  Swum
3 days ago

On point…. 💯

9 days ago

Should absolutely be Brian Thomas from GW

Crimson Alum
9 days ago

Nothing surprising about this. Mediocre coaching with an outdated “tough love” approach

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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