Roger Karns to Leave Lewis University after 10 Years as Head Coach

Roger Karns, who took over both the men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs at Lewis University in the fall of 2011, has left the program.

Lewis is a Division II school located in Romeoville, Illinois. The Flyers compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which had 4 of the top-5 men’s and 3 of the top-5 women’s teams at the 2021 NCAA Division II Championships.

Karns oversaw the program as it transitioned from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to the Great Lakes Athletic Conference, one of the most competitive conferences in Division II. In 2021, Lewis sent two athletes to the NCAA DII Swimming and Diving Championships, Ruben van Leeuwen and Stephanie Palczynski. van Leeuwen’s best swim came in the 200 free, where he took ninth in 1:37.06, while Palczynski’s top finish came in the 200 back, where she finished in fourth.

In his 10 years with the program, Lewis has reset 17 men’s and 16 women’s individual records. All 10 of the school’s relay records have been broken during his time with the school.

Prior to his time at Lewis, Karns spent from 2008-2011 as an assistant coach at Grand Valley State University, where he helped guide both the men’s and women’s teams to top-10 finishes in each of his three years with the team.

Before coaching collegiately, Karns got his start at the high school level, coaching Wawasee High School in Indiana from 1989-2008. During his time there, he won the Conference and Sectional Coach of the Year award 18 times.

A 1980 graduate of Ball State University, he was a two-year letter winner and former school record holder in the 800 free relay.

The school has yet to put out a press release or a job posting for the position. While the school’s athletic department offered no explanation for his departure, they stated that a search for his replacement has begun.

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Sean Peters
1 month ago

All the best to you, Roger. I always enjoyed our conversations and your amazing wit, and will definitely miss those. Enjoy your family, my friend!

1 month ago

If he graduated college in 1980, it’s possible that he just retired. He must be 63 years old or so

1 month ago

Coach Karns is a good man and fine coach. He has done good things with the program at Lewis.