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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Anne Counsell
6 years ago

rio 800 phil nolan miss you instruction n

Anne Counsell
6 years ago

I miss the opportunity to speak to mr phil nolan on swimming with times in rio for fridays swim 800 not my event 1500 but times pre
triathalon option ..or any event

disappointed swimmer
7 years ago

If I may at least share a word or two…

I don’t know the guy personally and really think you always put family first. But I can share one story of interaction with him. A coach can pick many options to talk to a high school swimmer on whether he is fast enough for a team or not. I was a good swimmer in high school (not cream of the crop) and was looking at Pitt. I am sure he gets this every year, a guy who isn’t quite scholarship material looking at his school. On a visit, I went to a meet, and stopped by after the meet to speak to the coach (when he was available, not like… Read more »

7 years ago

I didn’t take any of the comments written as a direct assault, if you will, on Chuck Knoles’ character, integrity, personality, etc. Chuck and his entire staff always welcomed our team to meets held at PITT and I always felt like a coaching “equal” when in his presence despite being a DII coach. It is an unfortunate sign of the times that given all the money that is being thrown about in DI, if your teams are not winning, then the AD is going to get rid of you either through “retirement” (forced or voluntary) or outright firing. It is without question that Chuck and his staff have done wonderful things in and for the local community and should be… Read more »

Carl Kirby
7 years ago

Chuck Knoles was my high school teacher in the ’70’s (yes the ’70’s) at Shadow Mountain High School. He was a great mentor and leader and left an indelible impression on me, a kid from a poor neighborhood and dysfunctional family. He told me that the “–turmoil I had to deal with would subside–“. After high school, I went into the military, spent 34 years in police work, completed my college degree, have been married for 27 years, have two adult children who are college grads and doing well.. I “retired” this year at the top of my profession to enjoy the next chapter of life with my family and friends. I haven’t seen, or spoken to, “Mr. Knoles” since… Read more »

Patrick Bateman
7 years ago

Not sure why all the putting down of LOAF on this board. He is a wpial champion for gods sake!
Also – Eagle Scout.

Peters Pub
7 years ago

Two things – first – what’s the deal with the Texas a&m towel? Did chuck retire to spend more time with this towel? And second, I think Pitt should bring in a big name coach. Perhaps Janet Evans or Ryan Lochte?

Dr Deluxe
7 years ago

To T.J. Barry
Answer to your question in 3rd paragraph..
NC State..bottom tier program 2009, 2010 in ACC and one of the weakest Div I teams in the country. Renovated “ancient” 1950’s- type pool with basic half – million dollar facelift, hired assistant coach from Virginia Tech and NC State alum. Alums , staff and athletic dept worked hand in hand for 5 years…now both men and women programs in the TOP TEN . It can be done without a McPool and no name coach.

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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