Reports from around the country are that the LSU Tigers are pursuing assistants from some of the top collegiate programs in the country to fill their vacant head swimming & diving coaching position.
Without a strong base of alumni within the collegiate coaching ranks, like we’ve seen in other openings, like the one at conference rivals Auburn, the LSU job is a more wide-open proposition. The job came open two weeks ago when Dave Geyer, who had been with the program for 16 years, including 11 as head coach, resigned.
Among the names that have reportedly had conversations with the LSU athletics director about the job include Ohio State associate head coach Matt Bowe, University of Florida associate head coach Steve Jungbluth, and Indiana associate head coach Cory Chitwood.
Of that group, the one with the strongest LSU ties is Chitwood, who spent the 2012-2013 season as an assistant at LSU – his first full-time collegiate coaching job.
Current LSU athletics director Scott Woodward is an LSU alumnus, but was not at LSU during Chitwood’s prior stop there. At the time, he was serving as the athletics director at the University of Washington, where he was responsible for cutting the men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs.
Update: One more name that has had talks with LSU is Ron Aitken, who is currently the head coach of the Sandpipers of Nevada swim club in Las Vegas. That program, which focuses mostly on 18 & under athletes, is one of a handful of clubs recognized as a Gold Medal Club nationally. The program produces multiple NCAA Division I athletes every year. He has coached with the Sandpipers since 1994 and also is the head coach of state power high school Bishop Gorman. A 1992 graduate of UNLV, Aitken doesn’t have any college coaching experience.
Woodward has been pitching around the country that he’s ready to spend to bring in a coach who will improve the level of the program. The former head coach Geyer had a base salary of $115,000 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. That spending, though, is not expected to include a new pool. While LSU has an 8-lane, 50 meter indoor pool with a separate diving well, though it doesn’t have the same sense of scale or flash as some top programs in the conference like Georgia, Texas A&M, or Auburn.
According to USA Today, LSU ranked 10th in the NCAA in the 2018-2019 school year in revenue, pulling in almost $158 million. That came out to almost $9 million in profits.