Phil Yoshida Will Not Return to Cal Poly Swim Team, Administrators Inform Athletes

Cal Poly has informed swimmers in a meeting Thursday that head coach Phil Yoshida will not return to the team and that they will begin a search for a new head coach.

Yoshida was placed on a leave of absence on August 26, 2023, with athletes being informed on September 6. The school was investigating ‘multiple allegations’ that he verbally and emotionally abused athletes and assistant coaches, threatened them, and retaliated.

Tom Milich, who retired in 2020 after 14 years of leading the men’s and women’s programs, returned as interim head coach last season. Yoshida was Milich’s assistant for all 14 of those years, plus five prior to Milich’s hiring and took over the program beginning in the 2020-2021 season.

The Mustang women finished 6th out of 10 teams at the MPSF Championships, while the men placed 4th out of 7 teams. In both cases, that was higher than the season prior, where the women were 9th and the men were 7th. Cal Poly will move into the newly-formed swimming division of the Big West Conference next season.

The job posting is still not available on Cal Poly’s website, and an email to administrators on Monday morning inquiring about the progress of the investigation was not immediately returned.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Coach Phil is great! This is a smear campaign rooted out of jealousy. Cal Poly had no legal standing to fire Phil based on FALSE accusations and lies. There is absolutely ZERO proof any of these baseless accusations against a good man are true. Fight this Phil. Never back down!

2 months ago

Hopefully the new coach will consider bringing in swimmers from with San Luis Obispo County. Phil flat out ignored swimmers that applied from SLOHS and other local high schools despite so many actually being really fast and talented. There are student athletes from this area that are coming to Cal Poly but not wanting to swim for CP until they know there’s a good coach to work with so they’re opting to join the club team instead. Let’s go CP administration on getting a first class coach that will lift this program to the level it deserves.

Swim Mom
3 months ago

Fantastic school, gorgeous facility…. Hopefully a real culture change is coming.

3 months ago

Sure hope that program can get a fresh start and rebuild – so much potential to be a great success!

3 months ago

It will be very interesting to see the Men’s and Women’s team progress in the next few years! Real talented and young team this year on the mens side, and the mens team was 2 points away from second which is incredible considering the concerning lack of actual sprinters on the team. Huston and Keegan picked up enough slack in their events and many others improved from last season. Their distance could use a boost too, but they had 2 swimmers in the top 8 for the mile and are only losing one next year. It will be great to see what the Boys do with real sprinters on their lineup next year!

Reply to  Chaddy
3 months ago

You mean third? They were almost 200 points out of second. Agree they had a great meet. Tom did a nice job but Phil recruited that team.

Reply to  Huh?
3 months ago

But he laughed at the fact that his swimmers never improved from high school. And recruiting men at Cal Poly is not much work.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joanietheswimmmer
Reply to  Huh?
3 months ago

Oops, youre right, they were 2 points from third!
Check out the graph on swimcloud from last year to this year. Phil got a bunch of swimmers together but Milich along with all the hard work from these kids really developed into the team they were at conference. The only bummer is the team seems to only have 1 sprinter recruit, but he is pretty quick for the school! Hopefully some of the teams’ current sprinters can step up and compete on the relays next year!

Dude, trust me
3 months ago

Finally some of these power-mad, fear-mongering coaches, with class after class of miserable retired swimmers in their wake, are running out of time.

Some transfers or swimmers with sour grapes is one thing. But this guy has been complained about rather publicly for years and the admin did nothing for as long as possible. Many others out there like him

Reply to  Dude, trust me
3 months ago

As with most (all?) head coaching positions in college swimming, “prior college coaching experience required” is the problem. Lots of these characters volunteer / assist at some small school(s) somewhere, spend 3-4 years checking a box, then end up in the big chair.

Then the school is shocked when stuff happens.

There are literally thousands of outstanding, experienced high school and club coaches out there who are more than qualified to lead these programs, who are not going mess up, but nope nope, don’t have that all-important “prior college coaching experience”. Dumb.

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, …

Read More »