The UNLV Rebels have named Ben Loorz as the 5th head coach in program history on Wednesday. He takes over the program as men’s and women’s head swimming and diving coach after Bobby Folan spent one year as the interim head coach. Folan followed 35-year veteran Jim Reitz at the helm of the Rebels.
Loorz is a familiar face to the Las Vegas era, as he was an assistant for UNLV from 2007-2010, including as a part of three conference championship teams. After leaving UNLV, he became the head coach of Cal State East Bay women’s-only program. He led that team to runner-up finishes at the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference championships three times and a high-water mark of 15th-place at the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead the UNLV Swimming and Diving program,” said Loorz. “My wife, Jennie, and I are excited to once again be a part of the Rebel family.
“I want to thank Tina Kunzer-Murphy. Her belief in the future of the program, and her expectations of high-level success, are motivating. My previous tenure at UNLV has given me a strong vision for what the program is capable of, and we are going to immediately and systematically begin doing the work necessary. I look forward to providing leadership and mentoring as we pursue conference championships and elite-level finishes at the NCAA Championships.”
Prior to his first time at UNLV, Loorz spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Utah (2005-07), where he helped coach the women’s squad to the MW championship meet title in 2006, and a regular-season crown in 2007. Loorz was a volunteer assistant for the women’s team at California for the 2004-05 season, and also an assistant coach for American River Community College in spring of 2004.
Other coaching experience for Loorz includes having spent the past five years as head coach of the EBAT Masters, a masters swimming program he founded at the CSU East Bay, while also serving as a coach for East Bay Aquatics for the post-grad and college level swimmers.
Loorz swam collegiately at American River College in Sacramento after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of music from University of Southern California in 1999. He also earned a Master of Science in Communication from Utah in 2008.
The UNLV men finished 35th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, thanks entirely to a 9th-place finish from senior Dillon Virva in the 50 free. The women’s team didn’t score any points at NCAAs, but will return their one qualifier, breaststroker Lina Rathsack, from last year’s team.