Pepperdine’s Jana Vincent Wins PCSC Coach of the Year with ‘Interim’ Tag Intact

PACIFIC COLLEGIATE SWIM CONFERENCE

The Pepperdine women’s swimming & diving team finished 2nd at the 2020 PCSC championships last weekend, just 43 points behind Cal State – East Bay, which won its 2nd-straight conference title.

For the first time since 2009, the Pepperdine head coach was awarded the conference’s Women’s Coach of the Year honor. But the award wasn’t given to the coach who started the season in charge of the Waves’ program, Joe Spahn, who was put on administrative leave and eventually removed from his position after members of the team filed complaints about his conduct with the athletics department.

Instead it was the interim head coach, Jana Vincent, who was named the conference’s top coach after her team improved their scoring by 113.5 as compared to the 2019 PCSC championship meet, and halved the margin to the leaders. The team also broke 6 school records.

Vincent is not the first interim head coach to win a collegiate swimming Coach of the Year honor. Steve Mazurek at West Chester University spent 2 years as the school’s interim head coach, and in that period won 3 out of 4 possible Coach of the Year honors in the PSAC. Of course, he took over a team, during the off-season, that was already dominant in the conference, and entered his tenure with 10-straight women’s conference titles and 18-straight men’s conference titles.

The situation for Vincent was very different. She took over a team that was having recent success, having jumped from 5th to 2nd in the 2018-2019 season, Spahn’s first as head coach, but not one that could be called dominant. What’s more, unlike Mazurek, Vincent was left in a lurch mid-season, having to pick up the pieces of a tumultuous situation. Her communications graduate assistant Julianna Chan was promoted to assistant swim coach in January of 2020, and together the two figured the season out. This was all done with Vincent in her first season of paid work with the Pepperdine program (she was a volunteer assistant in the 2018-2019 season).

With an elite background as a 15-time NCAA All-American at Washington and Florida, including placing 2nd at the NCAA Championships in 1987, plus coaching experience at Power 5 schools Duke and Washington under her belt, Vincent is an obvious choice to carry on in the role, on a full-time basis, next season. It seems like she’s at least earned a chance, even if that means another year with an interim label. It’s a big leap up the ladder for her, but success must be given the opportunity to grow and breed more success.

In the grand scheme of the story of the 2019-2020 collegiate swimming & diving season, this will go down as a sub-plot of a side-story. But in Vincent, Pepperdine found stability and success, and that feels like a footnote worth highlighting.

 

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ACC fan

Congratulations Jana and Julianna!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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