The University of Virginia is the latest program to expand its swimming & diving coaching staff amid the new NCAA rules allowing co-ed teams two extra paid coaching slots.
The Cavaliers have announced the hiring of two faces that will be familiar to regional swimming circles: John Carroll from UNC Wilmington and Joe Bonk from the Wilton Wahoos who is a former swimmer at NC State and Virginia Tech.
Carroll comes from a UNC Wilmington staff that is led by NC State head coach Todd DeSorbo’s former NC State colleague Bobby Gunturo. Bonk, meanwhile, swam for NC State while DeSorbo was an assistant there. The ACC, more than any other conference, has created a web of intra-conference hires, though the result has been an overall rise in results across the league.
While there are a lot of coaching staff shakeups still to come, with head coaching positions at Northwestern and Kentucky still open, the Virginia staff under head coach Todd DeSorbo currently includes associate head coaches Tyler Fenwick and Blaire Bachman and assistant coaches Jake Shrum and Courtney Caldwell.
The Virginia women are the top collegiate program in the country and have won the last three NCAA Championships in swimming & diving. The men’s team, meanwhile, was 4th at last year’s ACC Championship meet and placed 15th at NCAAs after the loss of two of their top sprinters, Matt King and Connor Boyle, late in the season.
Bio Courtesy Virginia Athletics:
Carroll spent three seasons with UNC Wilmington before joining the Cavaliers’ staff for the 2023-24 season. While at UNCW, Carroll and the coaching staff transformed the Seahawks in his three years with the program. During the 2022-2023 season, UNCW won the Colonial Athletic Association Championships combined title for the first time since 2006.
Carroll’s distance group thrived at the CAA conference meet. The Seahawks came away with event victories on the men’s and women’s side in the 500 Free, 1650 free and 400 IM events. The UNCW staff won swimming coaching staff of the year awards on the men’s and women’s side. Each side scored the most points in team history.
The 2021-2022 season was another banner season for the Seahawks. Carroll and the Seahawk coaching staff were honored by the CAA coaches as the men’s swimming staff of the year as the Seahawks breezed to the program’s first CAA title since the 2014 season.
UNCW combined to win 16 events at the championship meet. Brooke Knisley became the first Seahawk since Carly Tanner in 2013 to compete at the NCAA championships. Knisely was the CAA champion in the 500 and 1650 Free, setting program records in each event. Four Seahawks earned major honors with Sam O’Brien (500 & 1650 Free CAA champion) and Katie Knorr (400 IM CAA champion) earning CAA swimming rookie of the year honors.
Before UNCW, Carroll was a graduate assistant coach with at Auburn from 2018-2020. He worked primarily with the mid-distance and distance swimmers. Carroll assisted the staff with all facets of the program. He assisted with two SEC individual champions, two SEC relay champions and multiple NCAA qualifiers.
Carroll began his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Rowan University in 2016-17. Alongside his time at Rowan, Carroll coached for two seasons as an assistant senior coach with the Jersey Wahoos Swim Club.
Carroll, graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2016, where he earned a degree in history and a minor in political science. He helped the Retrievers to three conference championship titles. He served as a team captain during his senior season. Carroll also earned a master’s degree in education at Auburn in 2020.
Bonk joins Virginia’s staff after spending the 2020-23 seasons with the Wilton Wahoo National Team. During his tenure he coached Wahoo record holders, Connecticut state record holders, YMCA national finalists and junior national qualifiers.
Prior to his time with Wilton, Bonk was a volunteer assistant for Fairfield during the 2019-20 season. He spent the 2017-18 season as the recruiting coordinator for William Peace University.
Before his time coaching, Bonk was a 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifier. He began his college career at Virginia Tech, where he swam for two years.
He then sat out a year and transferred for his junior and senior seasons of NCAA eligibility and graduated from NC State in 2017. During his time with the Wolfpack, Bonk was a three-time ACC Champion, NCAA relay runner-up and three-time relay All-American as a sprint butterflier and freestyler.
He placed 3rd at the ACC Championships as both a junior and a senior, after a 7th-place finish as a freshman and 8th place finish as a sophomore while at Virginia Tech.