University of Arizona Names Ben Loorz New Head Swim & Dive Coach

The University of Arizona has found its new leader of the Wildcat swim & dive programs, tabbing longtime UNLV coach Ben Loorz as the head coach of the men’s and women’s teams on Wednesday.

Loorz comes to Tucson after an eight-year run at UNLV, leaving the Rebels with a decorated resume after numerous conference titles and Coach of the Year honors.

“I want to thank the search committee, Desireé Reed-Francois, University leadership and the entire Arizona Athletics Department for the opportunity to continue the storied legacy of this program while growing and developing our student-athletes to become champions,” Loorz said.

“The University of Arizona is a special place, and my family and I can’t wait to get to campus and begin this exciting journey together.”

Arizona’s current Director of Athletics, Desireé Reed-Francois, was notably the AD at UNLV from 2017 until 2021, overlapping with Loorz’s time in Nevada.

Loorz takes the reins at Arizona from Augie Busch, who was fired in early May after seven seasons with the Wildcats in which the swim & dive teams largely struggled.

“We sought to hire a head coach with a successful record of coaching, recruiting and holistically developing student-athletes at the highest of levels,” Reed-Francois said.

“Coach Loorz is a proven leader who is nationally recognized in the swimming and diving community with a championship vision for our program. He is a tireless recruiter with an exceptional history of developing championship culture and will grow upon the legacy of the program as we enter the Big 12 Conference. We are proud to welcome Coach Loorz, his wife Jenn, and their family to the University of Arizona.”

Loorz was hired at UNLV in the summer of 2016 and gradually built the program into a conference title contender. The men’s team moved up from 4th in 2017 to the runner-up spot at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships in 2018, and then after another 2nd-place showing in 2020, he led the Rebels to their first WAC title in 26 years with a record-setting point total in 2021.

The men’s team has continued to dominate the WAC, reeling off three more conference championship victories, making it four in a row in early March.

The UNLV women’s team, which competes in the Mountain West Conference (MW), placed 8th at the conference championships in Loorz’s first two seasons and then 9th in 2019.

Just two seasons later, the Rebels claimed the 2021 MW title in epic fashion, winning the program’s first title in 16 years.

For those performances, Loorz was named WAC Men’s Coach of the Year in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, and was named the Mountain West Women’s Coach of the Year in 2021.

Loorz has also qualified individuals for the NCAA Championships in every season since 2017, including sending two women, Ruby Howell and Blanka Bokros, to the 2024 championships. In 2023, the men’s team qualified the 200 free relay for NCAAs.

Loorz has also coached swimmers to success at the international level, most notably Polish sprinter Kasia Wasick, a former volunteer assistant with the Rebels who has evolved into one of the best female 50 freestylers in the world.

Prior to his time as head coach at UNLV, which was his second go around with the program, Loorz served as the head coach at Cal State East Bay for six seasons, leading the Pioneers to three Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference (PCSC) Championship runner-up finishes in addition to a 15th-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships.

In his first stint with the Rebels, Loorz was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for three seasons (2007-10), with the men’s team winning three straight conference titles while competing in the MW.

He also spent two years as a graduate assistant at Utah, and prior to that, spent the 2004-05 season as a volunteer assistant with the Cal women’s team.

A collegiate swimmer at American River College in Sacramento, Loorz earned a bachelor of music from USC in 1999 and went on to earn a Master of Science in Communication from Utah in 2008.

Loorz takes over an Arizona team that has been floundering in recent seasons, with the men’s team coming off recording their lowest finish since 1976 in 2023, placing 32nd at the Men’s NCAA Championships. The Wildcats were 27th in 2024, though 13 of 19 points came from diving.

The women’s team failed to record a point at the 2024 NCAA Championships and has only scored a combined 7.5 swimming points over the past four seasons.

At the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, Busch’s staff included assistants Amanda BeardRoric Fink and Chad Castillo, plus head diving coach Dwight Dumais and his assistant Daniel Pinto.

Arizona will join the Big 12 Conference next season after the disbanding of the Pac-12 last summer.

In This Story

63
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

63 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Richard Sybesma
11 days ago

Ben is a great Coach and person. Congrats

Gray Tedder
12 days ago

Ben did a fantastic job at UNLV, looking forward to sharing the deck again at Big 12s.

James
12 days ago

Ben is an amazing person and role model. Very grateful to have been coached by him and even more to have continued to work with him after. Sad I won’t see him on deck next season but proud to see him moving into bigger things.

Adriana Contreras
12 days ago

Huge congratulations to Ben and his family!! Ben will be a fantastic leader for the Arizona programs and they are incredibly lucky to have him!

Swim Fast Swim Pretty
12 days ago

Great Man. Great Coach.

Can’t kick can’t pull
12 days ago

I thought this said ray looze for a second

Admin
Reply to  Can’t kick can’t pull
12 days ago

ClIcK bAiT hEaDlInE

Ranger Coach
Reply to  Can’t kick can’t pull
11 days ago

I did too when I was scrolling through the headlines.

Morgantown Enthusiast
12 days ago

J-Cal—>WVU??

Shaddy419
Reply to  Morgantown Enthusiast
12 days ago

Wrong chat

Xanadu
12 days ago

Bens a class act and a great HC. Arizona is a dynasty program with tons of history. Ben took a mid-major dynasty program in UNLV that was at a low point, and built it back to a mid-major powerhouse. Bumps and bruises maybe to start, but he will build this program to be a contender in the next 5 years. A great day for him!!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »