As was speculated correctly by one of our readers shortly after it was announced that former Wisconsin coach Eric Hansen would be taking over at Arizona, Whitney Hite has been named the new head coach for the University of Wisconsin. Hite spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Arizona under Frank Busch, where he specialized in working with the middle-distance and distance groups.
Hite has quite a coaching legacy on his resume: among his other stops are working with Teri McKeever and the Cal women, as well as Jack Bauerle at Georgia. But Hite is by no means a career assistant: The biggest highlight on his resume is as a head coach at Washington from 2006-2009, before the school cut both the men’s and women’s swimming programs. In his 3 seasons in Seattle, he had the beginnings of a powerhouse program, including taking the women to a 12th-place National finish in 2008. The Huskies were a train that could only be derailed by the UW administration, but that’s a different story.
When Hansen went to Arizona, he took his top assistant, Geoff Hanson, with him, meaning that Tucson had (at least) one too many swim coaches, and Hite was the coach who made the most sense to be sent back north to Wisconsin. DeMont is a great coach, but has too much unfinished business with Tucson Ford’s Olympians. Hite has head coaching experience, and as described above, a great coaching lineage.
Wisconsin is graduating their 200 back National Champion, Maggie Meyer, but still returns a great nucleus of swimmers. On the women’s side, this includes USA National Team swimmer Ashley Wanland, and Aussie Daniel Lester, who is a top-50 in the world IM’er and a potential future Aussie National Teamer.
All heads will turn now towards which assistants Hite will bring with him from Arizona. The Wildcats announced the other night only Hanson and DeMont as assistants, meaning that the vast majority of Frank Busch’s crew is still on the free-market. Frank Busch’s son, Augie, is a very good candidate to come to Wisconsin as a top assistant. In Arizona, he served as the program’s recruiting coordinator, and with the programs that Hite has been at, he knows the importance of good recruiting.