Pepperdine University Names Joe Spahn Head Coach

Pepperdine University announced March 28th that after 18 seasons at the helm of its women’s swimming and diving program, Head Coach Nick Rodionoff will not return for the 2018-2019 season.

Former Notre Dame assistant coach Joe Spahn will take over the program, the school announced Monday.

Spahn spent three years a Notre Dame, and prior to that, was an assistant coach at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa from 2013-15.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Pepperdine University women’s swimming and diving program,” Spahn said. “I want to thank Director of Athletics Dr. Steve Potts and Associate Director of Athletics Matt Kalish for their confidence and support. I look forward to continuing a positive Pepperdine student-athlete experience through Christian values, academic excellence and competing for championships. My wife, Mary Kate, and I are thrilled to be a part of the Pepperdine Family.”

Rodionoff, who is at least 80 years old and coached both swimming and diving, led the team to its 14th top-five Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference finish last season. Before his tenure at Pepperdine began in 2000, Rodinoff coached high school swimming from 1964-1997 as the head boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving coach at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California. He began coaching diving at Pepperdine in 1974, and started the women’s program in 1987. He was also the diving coach at UCLA from 1964-1974.

He was inducted into the International Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 1974 and the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004. Rodionoff is one of only two swimming coaches to have received the latter honor. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Fred A. Cady Memorial Coaches Award, which is presented biannually to coaches who have dedicated 25 or more years to diving, while developing high-achieving talent in the U.S. National Diving program and international competition.

Rodionoff is also the only coach in the US to have coached national champions in both swimming and diving. His wife, Carrie, served as a volunteer assistant coach at Pepperdine.

“Nick Rodionoff has led the Pepperdine swim and dive program with his strong commitment to our Christian mission and to the academic well-being of his student-athletes, and with a sincere and genuine concern for each and every young woman he coached,”  Pepperdine Director of Athletics Steve Potts said. “We want to thank Nick and his wife Carrie for their dedication for all these many years.”


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2 years ago

anyone else amused by the “at least 80 years old” comment?

Reply to  Torrey Hart
2 years ago

It still made me laugh….well done!

2 years ago

Love the school there! Wish they had a men’s team too!

Anyone know who he coached to a diving ncaa championship and also who he coached to a ncaa swimming championship?

I couldn’t find the info and was curious

2 years ago

Congrats Joe! I had the pleasure and honor of swimming for your pop as an age grouper and in college. I know he is very proud of you! Great coaching genes!!

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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