Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina, has announced the promotion of associate coach Kevin Hennessy to head men’s and women’s swimming coach and director of aquatics.
Hennessy, a program alumnus, replaces his former boss and coach Kirk Sanocki, who left the program late in the summer after 22 years leading the NCAA Division II program.
Looking in-house for a hire makes sense given that the Bulldogs are already 12 days into the academic year.
Hennessy spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the program before being promoted to associate coach last season.
Hennessy is a 2010 graduate of Wingate and was a member of three Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships as an athlete.
“Kevin Hennessy has played a large part of all the major roles and decisions since we returned from Covid after the 2020 pandemic cut short the NCAA championships,” the outgoing Sanocki said of his protege. In addition to recruiting and making scholarship offers, he has had complete day-to-day training responsibilities for our D group, as they are called.
“Kevin has had major success, most recently with Miguel Marcos on the men’s side and Kate Agger on the women’s side, two of the top swimmers in our team’s history. Kate garnered our first women’s distance national championship in 2022. Kevin has now surrounded himself with coaches who will help complement his skill set. I’m excited for his tenure to begin, leading the teams to even greater heights. I’m proud to call him ‘friend’ and will be rooting hard from the sidelines!”
Between graduation and his return, Hennessy spent six years coaching with the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins Swim Team in Virginia, a USA Swimming club team.
Last season, Wingate swept the men’s and women’s titles at the inaugural South Atlantic Conference swimming championship. One of the top D2 programs in the country, the women would go on to place 6th and the men 8th at the 2023 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships.
In its history, the program has won 45 NCAA event titles. The women’s program has finished as high as 2nd place at the NCAA Championships (2016) and also placed 3rd twice. The men’s best finish is 5th place, and they have finished 6th five times.
Wingate Swimming alumna Kate Agger (’22)
“I am beyond excited and proud about the announcement of Kevin Hennessy’s promotion to head coach. Kevin has been such an integral part of the Wingate swimming team for many years. He has earned the trust and respect from countless swimmers. Over the past five years, I’ve learned a great deal from Kevin and attribute much of my success to his coaching style. I’m thrilled and honored to now have the opportunity to work with him side-by-side in a coaching role. Congratulations, Kevin!”
Wingate Swimming alumnus Ethan Hathcock (’23)
“I am so excited to hear that Kevin Hennessy will be taking the helm for Wingate Swimming! I can’t think of a more deserving person to lead WUSWIM for the foreseeable future. Kevin has been with the team for a long time, so I know he can keep the great traditions of WUSWIM going.”
“Kevin was my group coach for my four years on the team. He has a great sense of connecting with his swimmers as well as providing thoughtful, unopinionated feedback after every swim. Coach Kevin was a mentor, a coach to help analyze my performance, a guy to joke around with at practice and a shoulder to cry on whenever I needed it. I have no doubt in my mind that Wingate Swimming will continue to have success with Kevin as head coach. WUWhat? WUSwim!