Wheeling Jesuit Quietly Cuts Swimming & Diving Programs

Division II Wheeling Jesuit University has quietly removed swimming & diving from its athletics website, following an e-mail to alumni several months ago announcing the program would be cut.

As of Wednesday night, swimming & diving no longer appeared in the list of school sports on the Wheeling Jesuit athletics website. The school hasn’t publicly announced the cut, but did respond to a SwimSwam request for comment to confirm that the sport is being discontinued. A school representative said the university will release an official statement, but as of Thursday morning, we haven’t yet received it – we’ll update the story when official word comes through. Several alumni say they received an e-mail notifying them of the cuts as well.

UPDATE: The school has released its statement on Monday. We’ve included that statement at the bottom.

The school recently hired a new athletics director, Rudy Yovich, but he doesn’t officially start in the position until September 5. (The press release announcing Yovich’s hire on August 7th says he’ll be overseeing 20 men’s and women’s sports, which wouldn’t include swimming & diving, and the school confirmed that the decision was made before Yovich’s hiring). The current interim director of athletics is Ricky Moore.

Wheeling Jesuit joins a growing list of schools that have cut a swimming and/or diving program this year. Already that group includes Division I’s Buffalo (men’s swimming & diving), North Dakota (men’s and women’s swimming & diving) and Clemson (women’s diving) among others.

Wheeling Jesuit hired a new head coach just last fall. Former head coach Mike Meyers stepped down in November of 2015. He was replaced on an interim basis by his assistant Luis Ambrosio, and in October of 2016, the team hired local club coach Jeani Humpe to take over the men’s and women’s programs.

She had less than one year with the program before it was cut from the athletic department. Wheeling Jesuit now has 10 men’s programs and 8 women’s programs, including men’s football, which was just added to the department, and will begin with an exhibition schedule in 2018-2019 and a full schedule starting in the fall of 2019. A school representative said that the cutting of swimming & diving has no connection to the addition of football to the school’s roster of sports.

Here’s the full Wheeling Jesuit statement:

The University goes through a regular process of reviewing and revising programs. In the course of this review, programs are added, altered, and eliminated. Declining enrollments in swimming meant that the program was not as successful as it once was, and we couldn’t offer a positive student experience. Half of the team are rising seniors. The team was given the option of swimming for one more year and declined.

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Neil deVera
3 years ago

dang as a graduate from back in 1990 what has happened to the good ole WJC?

John, Jr.
5 years ago

I was told by a swimmer that they were offered no clothes, no coach, and no winter training. They would have to train on their own over winter break to be ready for a Championship meet on Feb 7. No swimmer is going to take that offer, and the reason that half the team are seniors is because they had no coach. No coach equals no recruiting, equals no athletes. For the Catholic Church, the richest organization in the world, to blame these kids, half of whom have given three years to the college, is downright disgusting.

5 years ago

Sad but expected change at WJU! If you read the article in reverse order it will make more sense…adding a Football to its program…now makes more sense why “they” do not need swimming program at WJU! The swimming program at WJU has being cutting slowly over the years. Now “they” just pulled the plug to end it. In the golden years of the program (1998-2004), WJU has placed its swim team on the DII map. Placing Top 10 at DII Nationals several years in a roll, DII National Champion and Record Holder in Mens 200 Fly, four years straight Bluegrass Conference Champion, etc…and it was done with the miserable Head Coach salary of $23,000. No wounder we had a new… Read more »

Dave Shotwell
Reply to  LANEFOUR
5 years ago

Well said Dimitar. I hope you all knew the hardest decision I have made in my life was leaving you guys.

Paul Mangrn
5 years ago

“The team was given the option of swimming for one more year and declined.”
– way to pin in on the student-athletes!

Can’t blame the kids, the University has been making odd decisions at best pertaining to the resource allocation for swimming since 2000. Thank you Dave-George- Steve-Rick-Golden-Jeff-Mike-Luis-Jeani (if I missed anyone, I apologize) you all did what you could with what you had

Dave Shotwell showed, not in theory, but literally showed what was possible with just close to resource allocation as team sports at Wheeling Jesuit Univeristy by recruiting towards a potential vision.

What Rick West and Mike Meyers did with numbers was impossible to ignore.

The University had a Cash Cow, that performed like… Read more »

Paul Mangen
Reply to  Paul Mangrn
5 years ago

Sorry for the miss type of my name ??

Reply to  Paul Mangrn
5 years ago

Well said, Paul

Dave Shotwell
Reply to  Paul Mangrn
5 years ago

Thanks for the kind words Paul. I had the vision you and your teammates had the drive and character to make that vision a reality. I have always said the secret to my success was surrounding myself with quality hard working men and women that all had a common goal. I guess we were lucky to have the support from administration. Thank you Jay DeFruscio.

Graduate Swimmer
5 years ago

Speaking from a swimmer that just graduated don’t let the school fool you. I am in 100% agreement with Disappointed. Last year was a terrible year. No training trip, no real coach, no support from administration and a bunch of empty promises is what the swim team received from the school. We swam against teams with much smaller numbers and no effort was made to keep the good swimmers there. The athletic director was well aware that all of the underclassmen were planning to transfer and did nothing. The state of the team was very unattractive to any swimmer that was looking to swim in college so no recruits were interested. That is why the swimmers that were left there… Read more »

Dave Shotwell
5 years ago

As the guy who started this program it deeply hurts me to see what has happened to the swim program. I started this program in 1994, with 5 men and 2 women in the first recruiting class. In that very first year I took a relay to the NAIA national championship meet. Over the coarse of the next 6 years WJU posted multiple NCAA All-Americans, a National Champion and finished in the top 15 as a team at the National Championships in 2000. There are several alumni in the coaching profession between the club and college ranks. The friendships that were forged will with stand the test of time, however it saddens me to know that the next time I… Read more »

Dave Shotwell
5 years ago

Crushed and disappointed.

5 years ago

From a transfer of this program. The truth is everyone that was a talented swimmer made plans to transfer. The writing was on the wall from the start of the year. They did not hire Luis which would have been great. Started the year with no coach and then they hired a local high school coach. There were many concerns expressed and everyone was assured the swim program was not being cut which obviously was not true. Everyone was dishonest throughout the whole year. It was very unfair to the swimmers that were there. From champions to zero in two years. There were no swimmers left and no real recruits. This was very disappointing.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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