Wheeling University in Wheeling, West Virginia has reinstated its men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs after a 2-year hiatus. The school, then known as Wheeling Jesuit University before dropping the “Jesuit” in the summer of 2019, has hired a new coach to lead its reinstated men’s and women’s swimming programs: Michael Orstein.
Orstein brings a lot of experience to the program after spending 30 years as the head coach of Division III Washington & Jefferson College. At W&J, he had a career 487-219-3 record and was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 12 times. His team won 9 conference titles and won 8 NCAA event titles in his tenure. In 1996, he was honored with a CSCAA Master Coach Award. He retired from that position at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
Prior to Washington & Jefferson he was the head coach at York College, where he had an .847 winning percentage.
“I plan to build a program that the university will be proud of,” Orstein said. “I did not come here to sit on my hands. I want to surround myself with good caring people who believe in what I’m doing and want to maximize their potential as student athletes. I am excited and proud to be a part of Wheeling University. My main goal is to help this institution flourish.”
Wheeling Jesuit swam their last season in 2016-2017, citing a declining interest in the team and less success than the program once had for the cut. That year, with Jeani Humpe as the head coach, the team had 11 women and 12 men on the roster. They finished 4th in the Appalachian Swimming Conference Championships out of 11 teams and had 0 qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.
The school does have a history of national relevance at the Division II level, however. In 1998, the women finished 16th at the NCAA Championships and in 2000 the men were 14th. That year, they won the only NCAA title in program history when Zoran Lazarovski took the national 200 fly title in 1:48.26.
As members of the WVIAC, Wheeling won 3 straight men’s conference titles from 2000 through 2002 and a women’s title in 2005.
The school is also reinstating its men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, men’s golf team, and a competitive cheer team. The school has been roiled in a financial collapse that almost lead to the closing of the university earlier this year.