The North Carolina Tar Heels have announced the hiring of Kirk Kumbier as a new assistant swimming & diving coach. Kumbier replaces Kirk Grand, who was recently hired as USA Swimming’s National Team High Performance Specialist.
Kumbier spent last season as a volunteer assistant on the new-look staff under first year head coach Rick Bishop at LSU. He also was the head age group coach of the affiliated Tiger Aquatics club. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at UC San Diego, which was a Division II program at the time (and is currently transitioning to Division I).
“I’m really excited to have Kirk to join our staff,” Gangloff said. “He’s has been mentored by some of the best coaches in the world and brings a wealth of coaching experience to our program. Kirk’s combination of head coaching experience and mentorship of world class athletes makes him an ideal candidate to join our staff.”
At UCSD, Kumbier primarily coached the sprint events and served as a recruiting coordinator. Three athletes in the program’s sprint group qualified for the US Olympic Swimming Trials.
Grand’s previous role was also with the sprint group.
Prior to UCSD, he coached at Allegheny College from 2011-2014, including as head coach in his final season at the program. There, he led 9 swimmers to a combined 14 school-record swims at the Division III level.
He also swam at the Division III level, graduating from powerhouse Kenyon in 2011. He was a member of three consecutive NCAA Division III title-winning teams in 2008, 2009, and 2010. He later received a Master of Education from Missouri in 2016.
Gangloff was previously an assistant coach at Missouri before being hired by UNC as their new head coach in 2019. The North Carolina women finished 4th out of 12 teams at the 2022 ACC Championships, and the men finished 7th out of 12 teams. Those positions were both higher than the 7th and 10th place finishes, respectively, they had the year before Gangloff arrived.
A wave of new coaches are coming to the conference next season, with two programs (Pitt and Notre Dame) hiring new head coaches, and with coaching staffs of several other programs losing assistants to those new programs, among other places.