Penn State has hired former Saginaw Valley State University assistant coach Austin Pillado for the 2021-2022 season. Following 1 season of coaching at SVSU, Pillado will join head coach Tim Murphy at Penn State.
Pillado will fill the role that former Penn State coach Priscilla Barletta left earlier this year when she made the move to the University of Michigan. Pillado will work alongside associate head coach at Penn State Steve Barnes and assistant coach Matt Hurst.
With the move, and barring any other unannounced hirings, the only female on staff at the combined-gender program next season will be volunteer assistant Emily Lundstron.
In his single season at SVSU as an assistant coach, women’s and men’s teams finished 4th and 5th, respectively, at the 2021 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. Pillado shared a brief summary of the team’s accomplishments during the 2020-2021 season in an Instagram post:
SVSU followed up their conference meet performances with a 22nd place finish for the women and a 24th place finish for the men at the 2021 NCAA Division II Championships.
The move from SVSU to Penn State for Pillado means a switch from DII coaching to DI coaching. The Penn State men finished 7th and 31st, respectively at the 2021 Big 10 and Division I Championships, while the women were 10th at Big 10s and did not score at NCAAs. The women’s team had one representative at NCAA Championships in 2021 in the form of Marie Schobel who finished 22nd in the 100 backstroke and 39th in the 200 backstroke.
Pillado is no stranger, however, to the Division I coaching scene, having worked as a volunteer assistant coach for the Women’s Texas A&M swim team for 3 seasons prior to his time at SVSU.
During his time coaching the Aggies, the team collected 2 straight SEC Championships in 2018 and 2019, along with a 3rd place finish at the 2018 NCAA Division I Championships. Before his career as a collegiate swim coach, Pillado swam for Davis & Elkins College from 2013 – 2017.