Courtesy: West Florida Athletics
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida has announced that Phil Kraus has been named the head coach for the women’s swimming & diving program.
Kraus, who has more than 20 years of coaching experience, including eight years at the NCAA Division I level, has been the head coach and chief executive office of the Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club (GPAC) since 2007.
“This is a great opportunity and I am so excited to work with the outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of West Florida,” Kraus said. “Since moving to Northwest Florida over a decade ago, we have had a great working relationship between GPAC and UWF. I am excited to be a part of the Argonaut program and build on the success of the previous six years.
“I would like to thank (Director of Athletics) Dave Scott and (Senior Associate Director of Athletics) Tony Nguyen for this opportunity to lead one of the strongest programs in Division II.”
Since joining GPAC, Kraus has helped guide six swimmers to Senior National Time Standards, 16 to Junior National Time Standards and 29 swimmers to Senior Sectionals Time Standards. Eight GPAC athletes have also been named to USA Swimming’s Scholastic All-America Teams, onto the Open Water SES Zone Team and numerous athletes to the SES Zone Team. Additionally, Kraus was selected to coach at USA Swimming’s Zone Select Camp in the Spring of 2010 and as the Southeastern Swimming Coach of the Year in 2015.
Kraus has had eight seasons of success at the collegiate level. He has mentored 19 All-Conference competitors, 17 individual Conference event winners, eight NCAA Qualifiers, three Olympic Trial Qualifiers, five All-Americans, eight Academic All-conference selections and five Academic All-Americans.
“Phil’s experience at both the college and club levels made him a very attractive coach during our search,” UWF Director of Athletics Dave Scott said. “We are confident he will continue to move our women’s swimming and diving program forward while building champions for life.”
Prior to moving to Pensacola, he was the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swim Coach at the University of South Carolina from 2005-07. During that period, the Gamecocks recorded top-40 finishes at the NCAA Championships for both the men’s and women’s programs. A total of six Gamecocks earned All-America accolades during that time as well.
From 2001-05 he was an Assistant Coach at Miami University (Ohio). His duties included serving as the recruiting and travel coordinator as well as heading up the sprint group. The RedHawks won the Mid-American Conference Championships in all four seasons he served as an assistant, along with posting an incredible 49-5 (.907) overall dual record and a 32-0 mark against conference foes.
Also during Kraus’ tenure, the RedHawks broke 12 school records and achieved nice NCAA “B” cuts. Miami had an individual compete at the 2003 NCAA Division I Championships and another who competed at the 2004 Olympic Trials. In addition, the team did well academically as they were named an Academic All-American team every semester by the College Swim Coaches Association of America. Individually, 14 women’s athletes were named to All-Conference teams, seven were named to Academic All-Conference teams, five were named Academic All-Americans and one was a CoSIDA Academic All-District IV First Team selection.
Kraus spent two years as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois from 1999-2001. Kraus’ duties included coordinating recruiting, team workouts, travel and fundraising. In his time there, the Husky men’s and women’s teams combined to have a co-MAC Swimmer of the Year and five All-MAC selections, while setting 15 school records. In Kraus’ last year in DeKalb, the NIU men posted their second-best record (11-3) in team history.
From 1997-99, Kraus was the head swimming and diving coach at Lebanon High School. In that time, he tutored five state qualifiers, two academic all-state selections, and three school records were broken under his watch. Kraus also was head swimming coach at Woodland Country Club, which under his tutelage won the Interclub Championship in 1996, the first time the club accomplished the feat in 25 years.
A four-year letter winner at Ball State, Kraus graduated in 1997 with a degree in secondary education. He was named academic all-MAC twice as a Cardinal.
Kraus and his wife, Anne, live in Pensacola with their son Kouper.