Stanford Men’s Coach Ted Knapp Steps Down After 35 Years

Head Stanford men’s swimming coach Ted Knapp is stepping down from his position after 35 years in Palo Alto, the school announced Monday.

Knapp graduated from Stanford in 1981 and joined the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in 1984. He took over as head coach for Skip Kenney in 2012. Under his watch, 28 Stanford swimmers combined for 70 individual national championships, and the program won seven team championships (1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998) and 33 Pac-12 conference championships, most recently back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

“I would like to thank Ted for his 39 years of service to our men’s swimming and diving program as a student-athlete, assistant coach, associate head coach and most recently as our Goldman Family Director of Men’s Swimming for the past seven seasons,” said Athletic Director Bernard Muir. “Since his first season as a member of the coaching staff in 1984, Ted has earned a reputation for developing champions not just in the pool, but in life, and has overseen Stanford’s status as one of the highest-performing programs in the nation academically.”

The school says it will begin searching for his replacement immediately.

“I’ve had the extreme pleasure of coaching at Stanford for 35 years,” Knapp said. “During that time, I’ve been surrounded by so much great support within the department and the university. That support, combined with the amazing quality of student-athletes I’ve had the pleasure of coaching, has made this experience a true honor. I especially want to thank my wife, Laurie, who has been through every moment of this journey with me. I couldn’t have had a better partner. I also want to thank Skip Kenney for the incredible opportunities and successes he allowed me to share with him over the many years we spent together on the pool deck. I am confident that my replacement will possess the experience, passion and focus to successfully lead this program and plan to assist with the transition however I can.”

In addition to his NCAA duties, Knapp was involved with national teams both in the U.S. and abroad in numerous capacities over the past two decades. He was the head men’s manager to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, and was the men’s manager for both the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York and the 2002 U.S. Junior Team, which competed in Rome. He was named assistant manager to the U.S. team at both the 2005 and 2007 World Championships.

In the 2013 Dual in the Pool, Knapp was an assistant coach for the competition in Glasgow, Scotland, as Stanford’s Eugene Godsode competed. Knapp also served as an assistant on the U.S.’s 2015 Pan American Games team.

With Stanford’s announcement, there are now 14 Division I head coaching positions vacant this offseason:


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Big, big job.

Could Meehan get a joint Head Coach job? Seems more likely they’ll appoint a separate men’s head coach based on other top programmes..

I agree, probably separate.

Kostoff and Dr. Josh White would be the front-runners in my head, given how distance-centric the team’s stars are right now. My intuition is that Kostoff gets promoted, but that’s just a hunch.


Would fit the approach with Knapp and current swimmers. But, the team hasn’t been spectacular in recent years with Kostoff on the staff (despite plenty of elite recruits) and lots of distance stars isn’t going to win NCs.

If I were them, I’d be tempted to try and replicate the women’s success by getting a hot young coach with major recruiting skills.


I agree 100%. NCAAs is about sprinting and that is where the team is most deficient. They should look at sprint specialists. Coley Stickels is a name that comes to mind.


Stickels would be an obvious.


Can’t blame Jeff for that, when he is assistant coach. Maybe if he was head coach.


There are only two coaches doing the coaching and recruiting so yes some of the blame has to go to Kostoff! Just like Ted got credit for coaching and recruiting under Skip.


During my red-shirt senior year at Stanford, I swam mostly under Jeff while learning to train down to the 100 and 50 for our relays. He helped improve my sprint speed dramatically that year, helping me hit a 41 despite being recruited for my 200-500. His sprint training was a huge factor in Abe Devine’s relay ability as well, who went 41s in relay-start 100 freestyles and 20.0 in relay-start 50 butterflies.

He’s a world class coach whose personal swim history is more distance oriented – do not assume that he’s a distance coach.


You are a sample size of one. The fact remains Stanford has gone downhill fast since Knapp being named Head Coach, though the blame should not fall on Ted alone. Despite having some of the best talent in the NCAA, both Ted and Jeff together have not gotten the job done.
Time to focus on bringing in new blood. Go with someone sprint-oriented from a top 10 team (asst or assoc head) and take a shot at getting the team back in the top 5 every year where they belong.




If you boil the decision down to math, 10 of the 13 individual and all of relay events at NCAAs are “sprints” Going back to Chad La Tourette, Stanford has been arguably too distance heavy to be truly competitive at NCAAs. You can send 5+ athletes to NCAAs for the 500/400/1650 but that is not how you win a championship. You win championships with relays and sprints.

Jay ryan

And your 45 hi 100 bk leading off the medley, Tom

No Brainer

Whitney Hite. Guy can coach.

He Gets It Done Again

By your logic, every male swim coach in the entire world would be a good hire


holy moly there will be some major coaching musical chairs in the next few months


Plus the “echo” when coaches take these jobs leaving the positions they held open for the next round of musical chairs.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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