Pitt Hires Former Auburn Swimmer Kristen Murslack as Assistant Coach

The University of Pittsburgh has hired Kristen Murslack as Assistant Coach for the 2019-20 season. She will join the staff of head coach John Hargis, who was associate head coach at Auburn when Murslak swam for the Tigers.

Murslack will replace departing assistant coach Rebecca Westfall who was hired in July by Coley Stickels to join the University of Alabama coaching staff.

Murslak graduated from Auburn in 2017 with a Bachelors in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. She was captain of the swim team during the 2016-17 season. Her sister Allison Murslak swam for Pitt, also in the class of 2017 (the sisters are two-thirds of a set of triplets with brother Nathan). At Auburn, she specialized in breaststroke and IM and competed at SECs all four years.

Murslak was a graduate assistant for the Auburn Women’s Soccer Team during the 2018-19 season, while pursuing her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration with a minor in Sport Management. She was an assistant coach at Pine Richland Aquatics in 2017-18.

Hargis, a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and 12-time NCAA All-American at Auburn, has been head coach at Pitt since April 2016. During his three years at the helm, Pitt has sent 12 athletes to the NCAA Championships and swimmers have broken all but three school records while divers have rewritten two records. The Pitt men finished ninth at 2019 ACC Championships with 508 points, a big improvement from 2018’s tenth-place finish with 324 points. The Panthers earned seven individual top-10 finishes after placing just one Pitt men’s swimmer in the top 10 at the 2018 meet. The women finished the 2019 ACC Championships in tenth place with 334 points, a slight setback to their 2018 ninth-place finish with 494 points.

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Ken Hancock
4 years ago

Tremendous young lady who is programmed for success. She will bring a lot to the Pitt program. Congratulations to the Panthers and to Coach Murslack.

Pete Barry
4 years ago

Great hire! She has great energy!

4 years ago

Great addition to the Pitt staff! Excited to see what she brings to the program.

4 years ago

I think that people VASTLY overestimate the ‘prestige’ of low coach on the totem poll on a mid-tier co-ed ACC coaching staff. Pennsylvania is the tightest state in the country with public salaries, but for sake of comparison: the bottom coach on the Florida State totem poll made $33,000 last year.

For comparison’s sake, I made almost double that in my first full-time job out of college 10 years ago, and I had a lot less experience with pipelines than Kristen has in swimming.

Entry level college assistant jobs are not great jobs. It’s long hours and crappy pay. That’s less than $16/hour if we assume a 40 hour work week – and I think most would attest that the… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

With all due respect, I think you’re missing the point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Murslack will do a great job at Pitt and clearly Hargis has confidence in her ability to add to the continued success of the program. With that said, it seems like some people in the comment section are scratching their heads because there are a number of Division 2 and 3 assistants, with Masters in coaching related fields, at top-30 programs, that can’t get a call back when they apply to the ‘low coach on the totem poll’ positions at mid-major institutions (let alone Power 5 schools).

In addition, no one with any knowledge of coaching or college swimming would ever, “overestimate the… Read more »

Sunny Cal
Reply to  OldCoach
4 years ago

Agree, she has no real coaching experience, but gets hired on as first job in D-1??? Just saying most people start in a lower division & work their way up. Just because she swam at D-1 school doesn’t make her a qualified coach there with no experience.

Coach Dave
Reply to  Sunny Cal
4 years ago

Look at it from the head coaches position. Someone with great charisma and energy without an established method of coaching is often easier to work with and mentor/guide than an experienced coach that already has his/her way of doing things. There’s also the connections someone younger is able to make recruiting. Hargis knows what he’s doing. More often than not, hires are made based on program fit, not necessarily experience.

Muddy Canary
4 years ago

So she has no experience swimming at a high level? Interesting hire.

4 years ago

Kristen is a perfect addition to this staff. She competed at the highest level and with her coaching experience, she will be a great fit for the program. And as always, WAR EAGLE!!

Sunny Cal
4 years ago

Nice first coaching job for someone with no swim coaching experiece before. Dont really see her as very qualified for a D-1 school. Must be her knowing Hargis from her college days that got her in?

Reply to  Sunny Cal
4 years ago

How it works in the swimming world! Gotta love it

Reply to  Sunny Cal
4 years ago

She’s young and passionate, exactly what Pitt needs. She has experience in club and high school. Kristen will do great things

Ray Looze
4 years ago

Great hire

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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