University of Northern Iowa swimming and diving head coach Doug Humphrey resigned from his head coaching position this past week. Humphrey will be making the move to Brookings to take on the head coaching position at South Dakota State University.
Before coaching at UNI, Humphrey was an assistant coach the University of Nebraska. In addition, he swam for the Huskers for four years and was a graduate assistant coach for the program. After being under Olympic gold medalist Pablo Morales’ wing for years, Humphrey was ready to land on his feet in Northern Iowa to be the head coach of the Panther swim and dive team.
Doug Humphrey took over as the Panthers head coach 5 years ago and skyrocketed them to noticeable success. When Humphrey signed on he promised to bring the team “great pride, honor, and championships.” Humphrey delivered. During Humphrey’s first season in 2012, UNI’s women’s team went home with one conference championship race win. This past 2016/2017 season, Humphrey and the UNI women’s swim and dive team celebrated 14 Missouri Valley Conference wins and a top 3 finish overall. “The key to their success was that everyone bought into my message, ideals, and training plan” said Humphrey.
“I had a great time coaching at UNI. It was my first head coaching job and when I started the program was not in a good place.” Humphrey continued on how valuable his time was coaching in Northern Iowa “I saw this as an opportunity to really create something out of nothing. I wanted to create a program that was rooted in the foundation of growth. I wanted every athlete to grow as a student and achieve a degree with a high GPA, and most importantly grow as a person personally.”
On the flip side of this transition, it is the end of an era for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. The current South Dakota State Coach Brad Erickson will be retiring this June. Erickson has been with the team for 41 years. Erickson was a Jackrabbit student athlete in 1970. Six years later, in 1976 he was named the SDSU head coach. At the 2017 Summit League Championships, he coached the SDSU women’s team to a fifth place finish and the men’s team to third. Doug Humphrey will look to ascend both the men’s and women’s team closer to the top of the podium, as he did with UNI in his 5 years with the program. “SDSU has the set up necessary for success but the key is finding the right athletes to take the program to new heights” said Humphrey on how he plans to find success with this new team. “If the team is willing to commit to getting better the success will follow” said Humphrey via email.
“It was truly amazing to be taught by someone who had been coaching the sport for 41 years. The most incredible part was knowing how many lives he’d touched while coaching SDSU” junior Richelle Bruyckere spoke of Brad Erickson. “We had an Alumni meet this past season and being able to see how he kept in touch with his past swimmers and their families was inspiring. Brad pushed us to be our best both in and out of the pool. Brad left a huge impact on SDSU but I am very excited to be a part of the new atmosphere Doug Humphrey will bring to the program.”