Sierra Marlins Head Coach Rob Collins To Join Tennessee Volunteers As Assistant

Sierra Marlins Swim Team head coach Rob Collins has been announced as the newest addition to the University of Tennessee coaching staff. Collins will join the team as an assistant coach under head coach Matt Kredich, along with associate head coach of the women’s team Ashley Jahn and fellow assistant coaches Rich Murphy and Josh Huger. Collins announced the move on Facebook:

So excited to announce that I have position on staff with the legendary Tennessee Vols!

Huge thank you to @mkredich for trusting me with the opportunity of a lifetime. Sarah and I could not be more grateful to go to Tennessee, and I could not be more blessed to work with such a phenomenal staff!

Thank you Sierra Marlins for allow me the opportunity to lead this great program over the last 4 years. It has truly been a dream come true and I will miss you all more than words can describe. I’m sad to leave but know that Tim and staff will continue what we built with incredible passion. Love you all

See ya’ll on Rocky Top!!

Collins will be filling the spot that was left by former Tennessee assistant coach Lance Asti who stepped down from his position to pursue interests outside of swimming.

The move to the University of Tennesse for Collins is his first collegiate coaching position following his 4-season run as CEO and head coach of the Sierra Marlins Swim Team in Folsom, California. Collins took over the Sierra Marlins after the likes of 3-time Olympian Haley Anderson and 2020 Olympian Bryce Mefford had moved on from the club but has since developed a number of successful swimmers.

Namely, Collins coached Bryce Mefford‘s brother Colby Mefford in his final few season before he joined his brother at the University of California back in 2019. At Wave I of the 2021 US Olympic Trials, Colby Mefford represented the Sierra Marlins and managed to pull off a 1st place finish in the 200 backstroke and 2nd in the 200 fly which was good enough to earn him a spot at Wave II. Mefford swam 3 events at Wave II and wound up 28th in the 200 fly, 28th in the 200 back, and 41st in the 400 free.

A number of Collins’ swimmers have made commitments to top schools over the past season including Amber Myers who will be joining Collins at the University of Tennessee in the Fall of 2021. Myers fellow 2021 high school graduate Emily Cooley will make the move to Northwestern, while Eric Thomure and Cole Lanting have both committed to swim at Seattle University, Olivia Garrison to Westmount College, and Kacey Ross to the University of Jamestown.

The Sierra Marlins received their second-straight National Club Excellence Program gold medal designation, having scored 17,225 2021 Club Excellence points. It has not yet been announced who will take over as head coach of the Sierra Marlins upon Collins’ departure, although Collins’ post indicates senior coach Tim McCormick will lead the team for at least the time being.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Tennessee gonna Tennessee.

2 years ago

Welcome to Rocky Top! Sounds like a great hire. Anyone know how they will divvy up responsibilities? I know Asti essentially ran the men’s program with Murphy.

Missus Nesbitt
2 years ago

Kredich wouldn’t have hired Collins if he didn’t have complete faith in him as a coach and a person. Rob Collins is an elite coach who hasn’t gotten the opportunity to coach college until now. Every legendary coach you know and love was given a chance many in the “SwimSwam comment section” of life probably doubted, so let’s see what Rob can do at Tennessee.

Reply to  Missus Nesbitt
2 years ago

Let’s hope he has faith in this decision since Kredich will have to live with this decision but unfortunately so will the Vol Men who continually struggle to be relevant within the SEC. For better or worse, many of our now beloved coaches didn’t have to contend with swimswam comments, but most of those coaches probably also didn’t absorb other teams to boost their club excellence, take significant vacations while the rest of the staff worked their butts off, and take credit for athletes they didn’t coach, and have a fairly weak resume for both developing elite athletes or coaching them. Good Luck Vol Men!

Curious George
Reply to  VFL88
2 years ago

Didn’t the Vol Men finish 3rd at SECs beating everyone but Florida and Georgia? For the 2nd time in 3 years?

Reply to  Curious George
2 years ago

Great diving team for sure!!

Saw Guerra
2 years ago

Wait until they announce Coley as the new assistant

Reply to  Saw Guerra
2 years ago

Im really confused. Didn’t they just hire Rob or is he an actual volunteer? I highly doubt Coley would take an asst position there.

Reply to  Blairt
2 years ago

He is an actual assistant. The school nickname is “Tennessee Volunteers.”

2 years ago

I don’t fully understand the trolls. Coach Kredich recently won the SEC, had one of the largest groups of current college teams at both waves of Olympic Trials, produced what looks to be 9+ 2021 Olympians that are bringing back medals and has a really large post graduate group?

Col. Trautman
Reply to  bigswimming
2 years ago

“I don’t fully understand the trolls”

Welcome to the SwimSwam comments section.

2 years ago

Why are people talking about this hire hot elevating the program??

He sounds like he’s got a lot of qualifications, and he’s filling an UNPAID position. Think he will do just fine bringing more value to the program!

College Swim
Reply to  Alum14
2 years ago

It’s not’s one of the assistant positions.

ACC fan
Reply to  Alum14
2 years ago

I read this a a volunteer position as well, thinking unpaid. Then on a double take it’s the mascot. Article title is a bit confusing.

Reply to  Alum14
2 years ago

They’re all Volunteers 😉

2 years ago

The focus is too much on which elite kids someone has coached. That doesn’t necessarily define a good coach. It’s whether they can elevate the level of the collective group of swimmers. Plenty of coaches have one elite swimmer but that doesn’t make them good. From what I remember he was a senior coach for Tennessee Aquatics around the time they were top five at juniors. I’m sure Kredich got to see plenty of his ability to rally a group of swimmers to swim beyond their potential. It’s a good hire and will fit the program well

Reply to  Interesting
2 years ago

I gotta say I agree with this. I would MUCH rather they hire a coach who had been working with kids at a higher year round level. The last thing I want to read in this article is that Tennessee hired some 22 year old coach who spent 1 year as a volunteer coach. Florida just did it and I think that’s a way worse decision than bringing in someone they know and has leadership experience.

1. A championship meet is a championship meet. College and USA swimming makes no difference if you know how to get them to act like a unit.

2. Are most college kids 18 to 19 years old…just cause they are a hair… Read more »

Reply to  Interesting
2 years ago

Agree that coaching one elite kid doesn’t mean you are prepared to coach a team. But TNAQ wasn’t top 5 at Juniors under Rob (maybe under Gardner back during the Pilot era?). The Vols needed a better hire to turn things around, and this is not the guy.

2 years ago

Tennessee about to get burned by the system USA Swimming created. Recruit talent, merge with every team you find, climb club excellence by embracing colonialism and then bounce for the bigger job. Tennessee will get what they pay for.

Reply to  Anti-colonialism
2 years ago

What does “embracing colonialism” mean?

Reply to  Armchair
2 years ago

Colonialism – the extension of (a nation’s) sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settler colonies or administrative dependencies in which indigenous populations are directly ruled or displaced.

…Aka when you merge/absorb/take over teams for the sake of increasing numbers because ‘large’ is so commonly presented as ‘good’ in USA Swimming.

Reply to  Anti-colonialism
2 years ago

I don’t think you meant to use “aka” there……