The University of Tennessee has promoted Josh Huger to associate head coach for its swimming & diving programs, adding to his role as recruiting coordinator.
Huger has been with the volunteers for four seasons. The promotion implies that Huger, part of one of the hottest coaching staffs in the country, won’t be part of the coaching carousel that’s going to spin this summer as Michigan tries to replace its head coach and Stanford looks to hire a women’s assistant.
“I’m thrilled to announce the promotion of Josh to Associate Head Coach,” Director of Swimming & Diving Matt Kredich said. “This promotion is recognition of the magnitude of his role on the team. Josh’s contributions during his time at Tennessee have been critical to our success as a program. He brings great energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to the pool deck every day, and all of our athletes have benefitted tremendously from his coaching. As recruiting coordinator, Josh has consistently helped us bring in people who are ideally suited to develop in our environment. This includes some of the best swimmers in the world, and some who are on their way to becoming the best. As the Olympic year is upon us and another cycle lies ahead, we’re looking forward to continuing to build our program with Josh taking a critical role in that process.”
Huger becomes one of three associate head coaches on the Tennessee roster, alongside Rich Murphy and Ashley Jahn.
Huger’s base salary prior to the promotion was $75,000. SwimSwam has requested his updated contract but has not yet received that from Tennessee. Murphy’s base salary is listed by Tennessee at $80,000 and Jahn’s is listed at $81,500.
Biographical Information Courtesy Tennessee Athletics:
Since his arrival ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Vols and Lady Vols have thrived in the sprint events and relays with Huger’s help, combining to win one national and 13 SEC titles, while bringing home 39 SEC Championships medals and garnering 51 All-America recognitions. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
- SEC Championships
- Total: 13 (8 women, 5 men)
- Individual: 7 (4 women, 3 men)
- Relay: 6 (4 women, 2 men)
- SEC Medals
- Total: 39 (13 Gold, 16 Silver, 10 Bronze)
- Individual: 15 (7 Gold, 4 Silver, 4 Bronze)
- Relay: 24 (6 Gold, 12 Silver, 6 Bronze)
- Total: 51 (34 First Team, 17 Second Team)
- Individual: 23 (18 First Team, 5 Second Team)
- Relay: 28 (16 First Team, 12 Second Team)
During his time on Rocky Top, Huger has helped develop some of the best swimmers in program history while vaulting both programs to greater levels of success. Numerous school records have fallen by swimmers he’s helped coach, and just this past season, the Vols (7th) and Lady Vols (8th) both finished inside the top eight at NCAAs for the first time in program history. The men’s finish was their best since 2016, while the women placed top 10 for the sixth season in a row. The Lady Vols won both of their SEC Championships (2020, 2022) with Huger’s contributions, while the 2022 Vols tied for second at the conference meet to earn their highest finish since 2001.
“I am extremely thankful for this incredible opportunity,” Huger said. “I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a staff that embraces collaboration, innovation and a genuine passion for the sport—and one that is dedicated to supporting our student-athletes both in and out of the pool. I want to extend my deepest appreciation to Matt Kredich for his unwavering support and belief in me, which truly has been instrumental in shaping my journey here at the University of Tennessee. Matt fosters an environment that cultivates growth, excellence and camaraderie that is unmatched in college athletics.
“It is truly a privilege to work with this entire staff and our exceptional group of student-athletes each day, and I cannot wait to see what’s to come. Here’s to a bright future ahead.”
On the international stage, Huger has helped coach Tennessee swimmers who have won medals at the Olympics, World Championships, and World Short Course Championships. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Lady Vols enjoyed a program-record six Olympic qualifiers, while the men had three representatives.
This past season, Huger helped coach sophomore superstar Jordan Crooks to an NCAA Championship, SEC Championship and Short Course World Championship in the 50 free. The George Town, Cayman Islands, native earned SEC Swimmer of the Year honors and was All-America First Team in all seven of his events.
During SECs, Huger’s work with Crooks took center stage, as the SEC Swimmer of the Meet and SEC Co-Commissioner’s Trophy winner etched his name into history when he clocked a 17.93 time in the 50 free, marking the second-fastest time in NCAA history and making him just the second person ever to swim sub-18 seconds in the event. Crooks won the 100 free, 400 free relay and 200 medley relay at the conference championships in addition to the 50 free. During the 200 medley relay, he posted the fastest 50-yard fly split ever (18.90).
In his role as the recruiting coordinator, Huger has helped bring in some of the top swimmers from around the world. The Lady Vols’ 2021 class was the No. 2 signing class in the country, featuring four top-10 recruits and three All-American transfers. The 2023 class brought in three top-30 recruits, including the No. 4 overall swimmer in Camille Spink and the No. 19 swimmer in Emelie Fast, who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Sweden.
The Vols’ 2022 class featured three freshmen swimmers who earned All-America honors in their individual events: Gui Caribe (50 free, 100 free), Martin Espernberger (200 fly) and Nick Simons (100 back, 200 back). Simons, an 18&Under National Champion in the 200 back, came to Rocky Top as the top backstroker and the seventh-ranked swimmer for the 2022 class, according to SwimSwam. The class also included former Division II national runner-up IMer Landon Driggers, who earned a spot on the All-America Second Team in the 400 IM during his first season on Rocky Top.