USC associate head coach Catherine Kase moved to Boise, Idaho amid the program’s coaching shuffle, she told SwimSwam Wednesday.
Her husband – former UCLA football player George Kase – and his company made the decision to move in late February to early March, and Kase told the team she was leaving in early April. The 2019-20 NCAA season was her 12th with the program and third as associate head coach.
“The timing of my announcement to the team (early April) was to NOT adversely impact our swimmers before Conference and NCAA meets,” Kase wrote in an email. “There was a lot of uncertainty for our athletes with Dave [Salo]’s departure, the abrupt ending of our season, and ultimately the postponement of the Games.”
Salo announced in January that he would step down from his position and focus on training Olympic hopefuls after the collegiate season.
Tuesday, USC announced the hiring of Northwestern head coach of two years Jeremy Kipp as the next head coach of the Trojans’ program. Kipp was an assistant at USC for eight years prior to his run as a head coach, leaving Kase – who many thought to be a strong candidate for Salo’s job in her own right – in an intriguing position should she not have already made the decision to move.
“The program at USC has a long and storied record,” Kase added. “I regret not being able to remain with the program, but know Coach Kipp and his staff will continue the traditions of excellence.
In November 2019, Kase was named head open water coach for the 2020 (now 2021) United States Olympic Team – her second time holding the position – and will see that role through, she said. Kase won’t pursue new college coaching positions in the meantime, and following the Tokyo Games, “will see what the universe holds” in regard to her plans, she said.
In addition to her 2016 and 2020 Olympic roles, Kase was Team USA’s open water head coach at the 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019 FINA World Championships, 2014 and 2016 Pan Pacific Championships and 2007 Pan American Games.
Kase’s confirmed departure also raises questions regarding distance and open water rising star Erica Sullivan, a USC commit who graduated from high school in 2018 and deferred her college start to train for Tokyo. With the Games postponed, Sullivan told SwimSwam she would wait on the coaching hire to decide whether she will still attend this fall, and with Kipp’s hire, says she’ll take a week or so to mull her decision.