USC Names Former Auburn Head Coach Brett Hawke as Volunteer Assistant

USC has announced the addition of former Auburn head coach Brett Hawke as the program’s new assistant coach.

Hawke, who was a two-time Australian Olympian and nine-time NCAA champion while swimming at Auburn, is known as a sprint specialist. He served as an assistant to David Marsh and Richard Quick during the team’s dynasty in the 2000s before being promoted to co-head coach alongside Quick for the 2008-2009 season.

He was named the CSCAA Division I Coach of the Year that season after the men’s team won the NCAA title and was later named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2012.

The Auburn women finished 16th at Hawke’s final NCAA Championship meet there in 2018, while the men’s team finished 12th with 98.5 points. After having finished in the top 10 in each of Hawke’s previous 8 seasons, the Auburn men placed 12th at the last two NCAA Championship meets. Their 98.5 points in 2018 were their fewest since the 1992 season, where Auburn finished 15th and scored 85 points.

While at Auburn, mostly during his time as an assistant, Hawke led arguably the best men’s sprint group in the world. That group included the current World Record holder in the men’s 50 and 100 free Cesar Cielo, as well as former World Record holder Fred Bousquet and Matt Targett through to SEC Champions Gideon Louw, Adam Brown, Marcelo Chierighini, and Zach Apple during Hawke’s time as head coach.

On the women’s side, during his tenure as head coach, he also worked with Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who was once the fastest women ever in the 100 yard free.

The 2020-2021 season is USC’s first under new head coach Jeremy Kipp who was hired after longtime head coach Dave Salo resigned following last season.

USC for this season will return head diving coach Hongping Li and assistant coach Dave Salo from the prior staff. Kipp brought assistant coach Meghan Hawthorne with him from Northwestern, hired Kevin Rapier as a new member of the staff, and named Lea Maurer, the former Stanford women’s head coach, as his associate head coach.

Between Maurer, Hawke, and Rapier (Cleveland State, briefly), the staff now has 3 former Division I head coaches on it.

“The experience and knowledge that Brett brings to the Trojans is a remarkable asset,” Kipp said. “From his career as an elite swimmer to one of the world’s best coaches, Brett has seen and done it all and we are ecstatic that he is on the West Coast and lending his expertise to the Trojans.”

Hawke’s day job is as the Development Director of Swim Camps at swimming clinic producer Fitter & Faster, living in Los Angeles. Hawke also spent last season as an assistant coach with the LA Current of the International Swimming League.



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2 months ago

No way?!

2 months ago

Surprised he could swallow his ego for a title like that!

Reply to  B1Guy!
2 months ago

Harsh. He’s pretty good on his podcast. Quite self-depreciating actually. He grew up in Australia which usually means a pretty level headed upbringing.

Former AU swimmer
Reply to  Aussieone
2 months ago

You sound like someone who’s never met Brett IRL.

Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
Reply to  Former AU swimmer
2 months ago

Its funny to me, that after all these years people still hold a grudge over a freaking swim coach. I had the fastest swimming of my life under Brett Hawke, and to this day speak to him at least once a week. He did the best that he could in his position. So what, AU wasn’t NCAA champions or conference champions. Sucks, but teams ebb and flow all the time. Honestly this day in age you don’t have anything else to be negative about?

Reply to  Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
2 months ago

Only way for a college coach to be complimented in this comment section is to either win a title or have the top recruiting class.

Former AU Swimmer #2
Reply to  Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
2 months ago

If I may speak on this as someone that doesn’t hate Brett but understands both side. The last few years at Auburn under Brett were… weird. A lot of times the women’s team would be swimming well in season and Brett would be pissed and yelling that we all sucked because the men’s team was struggling at a given duel meet. I recall swimming a punishment practice after the women’s team won a swim meet and several girls swam all time best duel meet swims. But because the men’s team lost the world was over. Sure, you can say, well you are all one team. However, it would of been nice to get a good job women but we are… Read more »

Reply to  Former AU swimmer
2 months ago

Was about to write that

Reply to  B1Guy!
2 months ago

No kidding

Reply to  B1Guy!
2 months ago

I had never interacted with Brett at all before his pod came out, but as an MBA student studying sports business and hoping to work in swimming, I’ve reached out to him multiple times for connections or advice and he has been awesome and really open/easy to talk to. No idea what he was like as a person while at Auburn, but he has been a huge help to me recently when he didn’t have to be. Hopefully this USC job works out and I’m wishing him all the best.

Last edited 2 months ago by MugSeven
2 months ago

How many former head coaches on staff now that got let go for not getting the job done?!

Coach Cwik
Reply to  USwaitandC
2 months ago

Some coaches are much better assistant coaches, than head coaches. When they become head coaches, they forget what made them a great assistant coach. Basically, caring about each individual swimmer and trying their best to get each to improve. As head coach, you have to win meets and end up only caring and working with your point scorers. Those that make it as head coaches, know it is TEAM. Together We All Achieve More.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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