Pitt Head Coach Chuck Knoles Retiring Immediately, Before NCAAs

Six-time Big East Coach of the Year Chuck Knoles retired today as the head coach of the University of Pittsburgh Swimming and Diving Program.

His retirement, effective immediately, comes less than three weeks before the 2016 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Georgia.

Knoles cited his need to spend time with family, especially his mother, who turns 88 next week, as the main reason for his retirement, as well as a desire to give the University ample time to find his replacement.

“Even though I am retiring from coaching at Pitt, I prefer to think that I am embarking on the next chapter of my life that will allow me to spend time with my family and friends, including my mother in Arizona,” he said. “I will now be able to spend that valuable time with those I love—time that we as coaches can’t always seem to find.”

Pitt swimmers Amanda Richey, a distance freestyler and backstroker, and Kaleigh Ritter, a distance freestyler, are both expected to be invited to NCAAs tomorrow when the lists come out based on their swims in the 1650.

A spokesperson declined to provide more information about the timing of the retirement.

The University of Pittsburgh is conducting a national search for Knoles’s replacement. Knoles says that it was important to him and to the university that Pitt had enough time to find a new coach.

See the full release, courtesy Pitt Athletics, below:

Knoles has enjoyed an accomplished 26-year tenure at Pitt.

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh swimming and diving coach Chuck Knoles, a fixture at Trees Pool for more than a quarter century, has announced his retirement.

Knoles joined Pitt in 1990 as head men’s swimming and diving coach. In 2002, he assumed the additional responsibilities as head coach of the women’s program.

During his 26-year tenure, he compiled 326 victories, making him the all-time winningest men’s swimming and diving coach in school history. His ledger with the men’s program also includes 11 Big East Conference championships.

“For more than 25 years, Chuck Knoles has been synonymous with swimming at Pitt,” Athletic Director Scott Barnes said. “Besides his impressive longevity, Chuck’s tenure has been highlighted by many important milestones and achievements. We are incredibly grateful for his contributions, not only to Pitt swimming but to Pitt Athletics as a whole.”

“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work at one of the finest universities in the country for the past 26 years,” Knoles said. “In my more than two-and-a-half decades here as a head coach and educator, I have been able to assist hundreds of young men and women transform into phenomenal people who have brought honor and success to themselves, to Pitt and the swimming and diving program.

“Even though I am retiring from coaching at Pitt, I prefer to think that I am embarking on the next chapter of my life that will allow me to spend time with my family and friends, including my mother in Arizona. I will now be able to spend that valuable time with those I love—time that we as coaches can’t always seem to find.

“I am excited for Pitt swimming and diving and their future in the ACC. With a multi-million dollar renovation set to be underway in just days, the program’s future is very bright. I want to thank the University and the Athletics Department for allowing me to help shape and lead the swimming and diving program over these many years. Hail to Pitt!”

Knoles was a six-time Big East Coach of the Year. He was also recognized with the American Swimming Coaches Association Award of Excellence. In 2013, Knoles was inducted into the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame.

Under his direction, eight Pitt swimmers achieved All-America Honorable Mention status, including the first two women in program history.

In addition to accolades in the pool, Knoles also coached 35 recipients of the prestigious Blue-Gold or Panther Awards, the highest honors bestowed upon Pitt student-athletes.

   A national search for Knoles’ successor will begin immediately.

“Our most important responsibility is positioning our student-athletes to reach their greatest potential academically, athletically and personally. Those will be the values that drive our search for a new head coach,” Barnes said.

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Me thinks that either (a) there is more to this story or (b) he has a strange way of showing loyalty to the swimmers by leaving them “high and dry” before their biggest meet . . .


Agreed! Why do people even use this euphemism anymore? On a side note, if he actually is the first guy ever to resign to spend more time with his family, then I wish him the best.

a decade late

Sadly, this is 10 years late. It’s a shame what’s happened to the men’s program in the last decade. A tenth place showing at ACC’s, several swimmers adding time, and not getting one person in an “A” final is now what Pitt swimming is accustomed to. While the ACC is a much better and deeper conference than the Big East ever was, it’s blatantly obvious the program has been stagnant compared to Notre Dame, Louisville, VT, etc. All that money spent to renovate the pool and still can’t recruit the top talent (even the locals). Do they really think building new locker rooms and a team room will do the trick? This is a great change for the program and… Read more »



In LOAF we trust

I agree with some of this but there is one part of this comment in particular that really makes me scratch my head, with my own hand. “.. still can’t recruit the top talent (EVEN THE LOCALS).” … … Are you familiar with the name Brian Lovasik? Because, boy oh boy, let me tell you about Brian Lovasik. Brian, more commonly referred to as “LOAF’, like a big giant loaf of bread, is a phenomenal athlete and is from the great North Hills high school which is very local. The great thing about LOAF is that he’s not just an athlete, but a SCHOLAR athlete (3.0+ GPA his first semester, I saw him wearing the shirt this morning so thats… Read more »

A decade late

How’d he do at ACC’s? He’s top talent alright….

If you honestly think he’s top talent….. then you have just proved my whole point in what’s wrong with this program.

in loaf we trust

Oh yeah?… He did better than you at ACC’s! HA! HA! YOU LIKE THAT? YOU LIKE THAT?! (read in Kirk Cousins voice) Unless your Simonas Billis or something then yeah you probably did but I promise you Simonas can’t dance like LOAF can. On the real though… nobody talks down on my friend loaf like that mister. Like actually though he’s around 6’4 with the heart and pride of a man well over 7 feet tall. Most people are looking up to him when they talk to him. Oh, how does he train you might ask? He just took down the CALEGAN SMASHHHHHHHHH, the two time Western Pennsylvania Invitational champion in the 50 free and 200 IM, in a stand… Read more »

A Decade Late

Oh yeah he definitely seems on track to qualify for the Olympics considering he doesn’t even have a trials cut…

A Decade Late

Does he have a trials cut…


I just did a search on your man Loaf’s times, and enough said.


If you listen to and/or read comments made by PITT AD Scott Barnes regarding all the programs at PITT and the expectations therein, it is no surprise that this has occurred. What is surprising is that Chuck was allowed to “retire” rather than be fired.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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