Setting the Field for the North Carolina Head Coaching Job

Rich DeSelm has announced his resignation as the head swimming & diving coach at the University of North Carolina, which means that we’ve already got a huge position open to start the coaching carousel. While the women were just 7th at ACCs this year and the men 10th, this is still being treated by coaches around the country as a top-tier position, given the program’s history and resources.

It’s likely that the position won’t be filled until after the NCAA Championships, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too soon to take a spin on the coaching carousel. Below is a list of possible candidates for the position.

Note: this is editorial content, based on rumors, speculation, and conjecture. None of these individuals have indicated to me that they are or are not interested in the position.

Below, we’ve handicapped the field. Who else have we missed that belongs on this list? Leave it in the comments:

  • Yuri Suguiyama, head coach, Wisconsin – Timing is everything. If this position were open a year ago, Suguiyama would have been the front runner as an alumnus. But, after 1 year at Wisconsin, with a new pool on the way and some success forming in Madison around the crusts, hard to see him jumping ship already.
  • Catherine Vogt, USC associate head coach – Another program alumnus, Vogt also coached at UNC early in her career under Frank Comfort from 2005-2008. At USC, she’s coached a number of successful Trojan distance swimmers, including Haley Anderson, and USC has both men’s and women’s programs that are consistently top 10 contenders. While known best for what she’s done with distance swimmers, USC is a program that’s also done incredible things with sprinting. That’s the well-rounded expertise needed to contend for titles in the ACC. If I’m UNC, this is the first call that I would make.
  • Tyler Fenwick, Virginia associate head coach – The ACC has done well in cannibalizing each others’ assistants so far, in that Todd DeSorbo is off to a great start in Virginia. UVA has a lot of forward energy right now, and UNC needs forward energy as much as they need anything in this position. Also, I’m pretty sure that he’ll be the first coach on this list to Tweet and deny that he’s interested.
  • Brian Perisie, Akron head coach – he’s done everything right in 6 seasons at Akron. 6 MAC Coach of the Year awards, qualifying multiple individuals and relays to NCAAs this year. His name has to be in a lot of conversations at schools looking for head coaches.
  • Stefanie Moreno, Georgia associate head coach – Mostly included because it would be inept to leave her out, but I truly think that she’s waiting for the Georgia head coaching position to open up. Can’t see another (good) reason why she hasn’t gotten a head coaching job yet. The success record speaks for itself.
  • Cory Chitwood, Arizona assistant – He’s got big-time swimming experience. His swimmers (Leah Smith especially) had success while he was an assistant at Virginia. He was legendary as a leader when he was an athlete, and it seems like he’ll be in a head coaching position sooner rather than later.
  • Tracy Slusser, Stanford associate head coach – The Stanford women are the 2-time defending NCAA Champions. She’s been there at 7 seasons. If she wants to jump for a head coaching position, her iron is as hot as it’s going to be. But Stanford also has a very good thing going right now. It can be hard to leave in the middle of a run like that, with the Olympics on the horizon and Olympians all over deck.
  • Coley Stickels & Mike Westphal, Indiana assistants – Both are ambitious coaches, and Indiana’s rise from ‘Solid Big Ten program’ to ‘fighting for national titles’ since their arrivals in Bloomington can’t go overlooked.
  • Tanica Jamison, Texas A&M associate head coach – The A&M women have been one of the most consistent programs in the decade (though that started with Slusser, above, on deck). Jamison has international caliber swimming on her resume too, which always appeals to Athletics Directors. She’s been at A&M since 2011, and the Aggies have run off 6-straight top 4 finishes. They don’t have the same flash and sizzle and pizzazz as some of the other programs on this list, but they sure do get the job done (and without many top 5 recruiting classes, either).
  • Dr. Josh White, Michigan associate head coach – I sort of thought he’d be gone in the flurry of hires last season. But, that just makes him all-the-more of a consideration for this season. He coaches open water and distance swimmers, which for a long time was UNC’s bread-and-butter, has a few international appointments to fill out his resume, he’s been an NCAA head coach (at Division III power Pomona-Pitzer), and he’s got a lot of athletes to hang his hat on: Connor Jaeger, Felix Auboeck, PJ Ransfard, Ricardo Vargas, etc.
  • Katie Robinson, Northwestern associate head coach – Northwestern is year 1 into what feels like a big rise for them in the Big Ten. Again, that sort of energy can be hard to leave. But Robinson has D1 head coaching experience (at Tulane), and again: a coach with momentum and energy is sometimes what a program like UNC needs.
  • Brian Smith, Georgia associate head coach – If we don’t think that Moreno is available, then Smith has to be on the short-list. Georgia is a successful team, and Smith has been there for 12 years, encompassing a big part of that run.
  • Mark Bernardino, NC State associate head coach – I mostly put this in here to see if I could make any Virginia alumni’s heads explode. But…he obviously had an impact at NC State in his first year, he’s won the ACC more times than anybody on the men’s side. If you can’t beat them, hire their coaches! Wouldn’t even have to pay relocation expenses. (No, I don’t think this will really happen).

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Swimmer1

Coley Stickels!!!

Airjordan

Puhleeze no.

Coach

No Queens Jeff Dugdale? He’s built a team basically on par with power 5s in there backyard, in D2 with less scholarships, and a micro budget.

RodgerDodger

Yeah lol but UNC knows that the kids he’s getting in to Queens wouldn’t get past the weedout at UNC admissions.

Also why do people keep saying that they’re like a power 5? Their 400 free relay that won NCAAs last year would have lost to Duke who has no scholarships at ACCs. So when we say “like a power 5” do we mean like Michigan State? Because bruh…

Coach

I believe Queens had the 2nd or 3rd highest GPA in the country last year for D2. They stretche the dollars they have with academic scholarships. Many of there swimmers have gone on to big time graduate programs. They also beat South Carolina in a dual meet this season. Could you imagine what they could be with 6 more scholarships. It would add allot of depth on that relay. As for who’s he’s coaching; you have no clue what your talking about. They live and train on campus attending Queens classes everyday. How is David and/or all these swimmers transporting back and forth coast to coast everyday. Just because Queens is embarrassing and exposing allot of bad D1 isn’t a… Read more »

FLSwimmer

1) https://swimswam.com/record-setting-713-teams-earn-fall-2018-scholar-all-america-honors/ (See Queens GPA as NOT being 2nd or 3rd in D2)

2) I did not say that the Queens swimmers are going back and forth from NC to San Diego everyday. There are these things called online classes…

D2 Guru

Ok, I ignored the first time….but it’s “their,” not “there.” You’re not your. Allot is not a word. Besides, Queens gets a lot of international swimmers. Maybe not scholarship, but they go there for free, somehow.

2 Cents

Umm…. what?? Have you met the basketball or football team? They can get dummies into the school for athletics, that is NOT an issue for them.

swimma

I think it’s mostly certain that UNC will indeed be extraordinary given the right coaching staff and organization. Swimming is basically the only sport at UNC that’s not near-or actually national champions. It’s actually quite bizarre that up to this point UNC has been so awful…Rich was good his first years..I think his recruiting skills were like, 0/10…..the school is top 30 academically, fulllllllly funded (and then some- some of the best student-athlete resources in America) and has a gorgeous campus. It would seem like a no brainer for people also considering schools like UVA, Michigan, etc, but they need the clout and background success for which those schools have worked very hard, which takes time, of course- but is… Read more »

Bruh

Hate to rehash this, but D2 just wrapped up last night. I’ll just leave this here: 2:49.98. That’s faster than the other school from Michigan last year. Because bruh…

FLSwimmer

You think Jeff Dugdale or David Marsh is coaching Marius Kusch? I suspect Kusch was back in San Diego not long after the Bluegrass Conference Champs…

2 Cents

Probably because of Baker…. just saying

Real talk

If anything, it’s John Long coaching him under the guidance of Bob Groseth. Jeff has had a long string of assistant coaches in a short amount of time.

CLT

I would be interested to know how you define “long string”?

Real Talk

8 Assistants in 9 years

Jeff Dugdale

Real talk i finally feel the need to jump in after reading this non sense. My assistant coaches in our 9th year were:
1. Mallory Houchin – went on to NC State
2. Jon MacColl – the youngest head coach in the big ten at Rutgers at the time
3. Peter Verhoef – head coach of Bolles
4. John Long has been here 5 yrs
5. Bob Groseth 3 years
6. Julia Czentye 2yrs.
7. Matt Johnson – head site coach Team Charlotte

Please be accurate as my job is to develop coaches to become Head Coaches

Regards

Jeff Dugdale

CLT

I would suggest looking into Kusch’s progress over the past few years. He’s improved to a large degree since he started training at Queens in 2015. While yes the likelihood of him training with Marsh is pretty high, given the fact that he was still in Charlotte at the time, he definitely had his worst summer last year when he moved out to SD and was with Marsh full time. Jeff Dugdale and John Long deserve all the credit when it comes to coaching Kusch and I believe that will become evident when we see what happens once he’s graduated.

DrSwimPhil

While athletic scholarships might be less (in official numbers), I’m guessing Queens has some different academic scholarship rules compared to UNC….

HOK1E

Why am I getting the impression that “COACH” is actually Jeff Dugdale? Classic!

Coach

Because your a hater

FLSwimmer

*you’re

I_Said_It

Winner!

Real talk

He sold the concept of training with Marsh before NCAA champ wins and how he built the program after he started…..pass

Fast Swimmer 1

Brian Smith would be a good hire. It would also open up a sprint coach job at Georgia

Troy

Yes I agree. Look no further then Carol at Texas, I think she is producing a national contenting team in a few years and she comes from a long tenure at Georgia. He at least deserves a good look. My only problem is he is a sprint coach and I cant say they are know for sprinting. Especially this year the boys have no sprinters and girls really just have Veronica who is better at the hundred. They did have Smogs and few others, but overall not top tier. Georgia much more know for producing middle distance people.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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