St. Thomas University of Miami Gardens, Florida, didn’t have to look too far to find the first head coach for its new swimming program. The school announced today that Keith Coghlan will take the helm of the new program. Coughlan comes to St. Thomas after four years at Keiser University, which is part of the NAIA’s Sun Coast Conference, which St. Thomas will also participate in.
While at Keiser, Coghlan helped head coach Adam Epstein turn the program into a NAIA powerhouse. Both men and women claimed the Sun Coast Conference title in 2019, the men have won back-to-back NAIA championships, and the women were the NAIA runner-ups last season.
The St. Thomas swim team will start competing this fall, as will men’s wrestling. The addition of swimming and wrestling comes on the heels of the school additng track & field (2018) and football (2019) in recent years. The additions will bring the school up to 21 varsity sports.
Courtesy of St. Thomas Athletics
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (February 12, 2020) – Following the addition of Swimming and Diving to the St. Thomas University (STU) Athletics roster in October, Keith Coghlan has been named the inaugural Head Coach, announces Director of Athletics, Laura Courtley – Todd.
“We are excited to bring Keith to our Bobcat family with the addition of Swimming & Diving. He brings a wealth of experience to our staff and is a proven-winner and program-builder that recruits excellent student-athlete,” said Courtley – Todd.
Coghlan comes to St. Thomas University after four seasons as the Keiser University Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach. During his tenure at Keiser, Coghlan also helped establish the first-year program and turned the Seahawks into a national power program. Coghlan assisted the men’s team to consecutive NAIA National Championships in 2018 – 19 and helped the women’s team finish as runner-up in 2019.
“I am appreciative of the opportunity and excited to start the program at STU. There are so many swimming programs in South Florida; the potential to recruit excellent student-athletes will help us build a successful program in the pool,” stated Coghlan.
In addition to the team awards, Coghlan has coached several individual champions and Swimmer of the Year awards. Coghlan also assisted in the development of 191 All-Conference men’s swimmers and 127 All-Conference women, as well as 98 male All-Americans and 58 female All-Americans.
Coghlan’s experience building programs was coveted in the job search, and he added, “there are challenges in building a program; however, my experiences at Keiser has prepared me with how to handle adversity, which turned KU into a championship-contending program.”
Coghlan swam collegiately at Florida Atlantic University and Eastern Michigan University. In his first year at FAU, Coghlan was named the Most Valuable Swimmer and also earned Most Improved. Following a transfer to EMU, Coghlan added an individual Mid-American Conference Championship, as well as two team titles.
When the announcement of Swimming and Diving became official in October 2019, St. Thomas was the 59th school to add swimming and the 11th NAIA institution. In the state of Florida, there are 188-programs within a 50-mile radius of STU (66 clubs, 122 high schools).
St. Thomas will join the Sun Coast Conference and will compete against Keiser, South Georgia State, UNC Pembroke, Pfeiffer University (NC), Thomas University (GA.), Warren Wilson College (NC), and LaGrange College (GA.)
Coghlan also serves as a senior coach for the Lake Lytal Lightning and has coached two State Champions.
Coghlan graduated from Eastern Michigan with a degree in Social Science and currently resides in West Palm Beach, Fla. with his wife, Megan.
About St. Thomas University:
The only Catholic Archdiocesan-sponsored University in Florida, St. Thomas University (www.stu.edu) places an institutional emphasis on social justice and ethical behavior and provides its globally diverse student body with low student/teacher ratios. The private, non-profit university offers more than 45 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees at its 144-acre campus in Miami Gardens, Fla., and through distance learning, including one of the oldest (and highly ranked) undergraduate programs in Sports Administration in the country. The 2018-19 academic year for St. Thomas featured record enrollment and fundraising, as well as the No. 1 ranking on U.S. News for Social Mobility in the south.