University of Michigan Head Coach Mike Bottom Announces Retirement After 15 Seasons

Longtime University of Michigan head coach Mike Bottom has retired from his post after a 15-year tenure in Ann Arbor.

Bottom has been the head coach of the men’s swimming & diving program at Michigan for the past 15 seasons, beginning in 2008, and has led the combined men’s and women’s team for the past 11 years.

The announcement was made by Michigan Director of Athletics Warde Manuel on Wednesday, noting that Bottom will continue to lead the programs through August 4 as they search for a replacement.

“Today, Mike Bottom informed us that he plans to retire from full-time coaching,” said Manuel.

“An Olympic caliber coach, Mike sustained Michigan’s legacy of success in the pool for many years and will always be remembered for stewarding great success in men’s and women’s swimming and capturing the 2013 men’s national championship. I deeply appreciate his passion for the sport, his love of U-M, and his willingness to continue leading the program while we search for his replacement.”

Bottom’s tenure at Michigan included leading the men’s team to an NCAA title in 2013, and he also guided them to nine Big Ten titles and a total of eight top-10 finishes at nationals.

The Wolverine women won three conference championships under his watch, winning the 2016, 2017 and 2018 titles to mark the Big Ten’s first three-peat since 1996-98.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Bottom was named Big Ten Coach of the Year nine times, coached nine swimmers to individual NCAA titles, and closes his career with a 111-13-1 dual meet record on the men’s side and 74-19 for the women.

“Following my 15th year leading Michigan teams and over 30 years of collegiate coaching, my excitement moves to cheering on future success,” said Bottom.

“In the coming weeks, I will enjoy being part of our summer national and international pursuits. I am excited to pass the helm to a fresh new leader who will win championships and mentor champions. I am so grateful for the leadership of Warde Manuel and Rob Rademacher over these past years and the growth partnerships that I’ve enjoyed with so many coaches and staff members. Go Blue!”

Bottom’s retirement comes one year after he signed a five-year contract extension through 2026-27, which was worth a total of $1.1 million over its duration.

The men’s team has struggled in recent years, recording their two lowest NCAA finishes during Bottom’s tenure in 2022 (22nd) and 2023 (20th).

The women’s team is coming off their lowest finish at nationals since Bottom’s first year in 2013 (when they took 36th), as the Wolverines were 23rd at the 2023 NCAAs. This came after four consecutive seasons finishing fourth, third, sixth and seventh (from 2018 to 2022, skipping the 2020 season that was canceled).

Prior to Michigan, Bottom served as the co-head coach of the men’s team at Cal from 1998 until 2007, and prior to that, served as an assistant at Auburn (1991-94) and USC (1994-97).

Bottom has coached at the Olympics in some capacity for six straight Games, though he only went as an official member of the U.S. delegation in 2016, serving in an assistant coaching role for the men’s team.

Bottom has also coached more than a dozen Olympians over the course of his career, including sprinting greats such as Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin, and most recently, Canadian Olympic gold medalist Maggie MacNeil.

In addition to his Olympic resume, Botom has also twice served as the head coach of the U.S. men’s team at the World University Games (2013, 2015), and been an assistant at the World Championships in both 2009 and 2013.

As a swimmer, Bottom qualified for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, which the U.S. ultimately boycotted.

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Mac Bottom
1 year ago

What ever happened to Scott Greenwood?

1 year ago

I think that Bottom – and many others – were shocked when he didn’t get the Cal job when Nort retired. He did an admirable job at Michigan, and no doubt is one of the sharpest minds in swimming from a technical perspective.

But there is no reason why Michigan shouldn’t be a perennial top 5 program at NCAAs. They’ve got the academics (see Cal), the facility (see Texas, Indiana, etc), and the tradition. Ultimately, college swimming is recruiting hidden or apparent talent and then developing that talent.

So, with the exception of the 2013 title, it’s pretty meh in terms of results vs expectations.


Gary W Hall
1 year ago

Congratulations, Mike, on your incredible coaching career. More than just an amazing coach, you have been a great role model for your swimmers. I can safely say that my son, Gary, would never have enjoyed the success he did without your guidance and coaching.
Thanks again, Mike, for all that you have done for the Hall family.

Reply to  Gary W Hall
1 year ago

Any of you out there responding to Mike’s retirement with “snark,” you can’t find a more real and weighty stamp of approval for Mike’s coaching career than this one from Gary, Sr. Serious folks in the sport have respect for you, Mike.

1 year ago

M-Bot was and still is a great guy and tremendous coach. As an alum, I truly appreciate his commitment to excellence and will miss him.

1 year ago

Those dual meet records are pretty insane. A lot of top programs, like Texas, don’t prioritize winning every in-season meet and focus on NCAAs. I imagine there’s a lot of pressure to beat conference rivals in the Big 10.

Congratulations to Coach Bottom on a coaching career that matched his stellar achievements as a swimmer.

Reply to  Fluidg
1 year ago

I know it’s been a lot of years, but I always felt it was fun to recognize when members of the same family had outstanding careers. Mike’s athletic accomplishments are usually boiled down to “on 1980 Olympic team cheated by Carter.” His career, especially when mixed in with brother Joe, is significantly more worthy than 1980’s bummer.

They shared the same “best” event, the 100 Fly, though Joe obviousy was a pretty flashy sprint freestyler as well (first under 20 in SCY and Olympic team in 100 free, fastest LCM 50 free) but his only individual World Record in what was then an Olympic event was the 100 Fly, when he was the first to break Spitz’ :54.27 Munich… Read more »

1 year ago

I attended a high school sprint camp just to work with the legendary Mike Bottom. I was so excited to go and experience his personal coaching.

Instead, he spent most of the camp on his phone, completely checked out, ignoring anyone who wasn’t a possible UM recruit (basically almost all of us). It was so disappointing.

Reply to  D1 NARP
1 year ago

Aren’t those camps usually run my the assistant coaches and probabaly some people they bring in?

Winter Apple
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

And the swimmers sometimes? College swim camps are nothing more than a money grab and a fun experience for swimmers. There is nothing beneficial swimming wise

1 year ago

Bret Lundgaard with Princeton Women. He has already won a couple Ivy Championships and almost got a few relays to NCAA this year He coached men and women at Tennessee, and coached Molly Hannis to the Olympics.

1 year ago

He has enough top 10 NCAA finishes and conference titles along with the 2013 national title to qualify as a “legend.”

He gave credit to his assistants which is a nice touch when you are taking a bow on your way out.

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 …

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