Wisconsin Extends Swim Coach Yuri Suguiyama Through 2023-2024 Season

The University of Wisconsin has extended head swimming & diving coach Yuri Suguiyama‘s three-year agreement through June 14, 2024. Suguiyama was one of 6 Wisconsin head coaches to receive a contract extension this week after a meeting of the UW Athletic Board.

Wisconsin uses a unique method of contract renewal for its head coaches. Each season, the athletics department makes a recommendation to the board on whether to renew a coach’s contract (which keeps it at the same length – in Suguiyama’s case 3 years) or to maintain it (without adding the extra year).

An extension of the contract is a positive sign from the administration, whereas “maintaining” a contract is a sign of future trouble – Whitney Hite’s contract, for example, was maintained before the 2015-2016 season, and a few years later he was removed from that position.

The vote of confidence for Suguiyama comes after a year where the men’s team finished 5th out of 10 at the Big Ten Championships and the women finished 5th out of 13 teams at the Big Ten Championships.

For the Wisconsin women, that held the same position that they’ve placed at each of the prior 3 Big Ten Championship meets, in spite of graduating one of the most valuable college swimmers in the country, Beata Nelson, prior to the season.

2021 freshman Phoebe Bacon helped cover for that loss, placing 4th in the 200 IM, 3rd in the 100 backstroke, and winning the 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships.

As a team, the Wisconsin women placed 19th at NCAAs, while the men finished 28th.

The 2020-2021 season was Suguiyama’s third as the head coach at Wisconsin. Prior to that, he served as the men’s associate head coach at Cal for 6 seasons, including when they won an NCAA title in 2014.

According the La Crosse Tribune, Suguiyama’s total salary, benefits, and bonuses for the 2018-2019 season (the most recent available data) was $228,088. That ranked him as the 11th-highest paid coach in the athletics department.

Full list of Wisconsin contract extensions:

  • Football coach Paul Chryst’s five-year agreement was extended through January 31, 2026
  • Women’s hockey coach Mark Johnson’s five-year agreement was extended through June 30, 2026
  • Men’s basketball coach Greg Gard’s five-year agreement was extended through May 31, 2026
  • Men’s hockey coach Tony Granato’s five-year agreement was extended through June 30, 2026
  • Swimming and diving coach Yuri Suguiyama‘s three-year agreement was extended through June 14, 2024
  • Wrestling coach Chris Bono’s three-year agreement was extended through May 31, 2024

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Nemo
9 months ago

Great coach and even a better person. Yuri is building a nice program at Wisconsin and bringing in great recruits and created a positive atmosphere. Could not be happier for him and a program that he is guiding in the right direction.

FLSwimmer
9 months ago

Let’s just all be grateful for the return of Yozhik to the SwimSwam comment section…

SCCOACH
Reply to  FLSwimmer
9 months ago

Agree!!! He’s great!!

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
Reply to  SCCOACH
9 months ago

The COVID-19 of the swimswam comments section.

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
Reply to  FLSwimmer
9 months ago

Good riddance, I say.

Dr Deluxe
9 months ago

Ok..let’s settle down and just praise a great coach with enviable coaching credentials , Div 1 swimming experience, a fantastic aquatic complex , a supportive athletic department with top twenty football and basketball programs , a solid staff and a program history of being able to get an individual NCAA title ( 3 in the last 10 years)
Congrats Yuri and wishes for future success.

Go Utes
Reply to  Dr Deluxe
9 months ago

you’re either missing one of Beata’s national titles or Drew teDuits 200 backstroke title because I know almost nothing about UW swimming and know there have been 4 in the last 10 years

Last edited 9 months ago by Go Utes
Dr Deluxe
Reply to  Go Utes
9 months ago

You are correct ! Thanks !
Maggie Meyer, Beata, Phoebe and ( forgive the mistake) Drew! All backstrokes!!

swimfan210_
9 months ago

Wisconsin has some good recruits coming in, excited for this program!

Go Badgers
9 months ago

Awesome, well deserved Yuri does a fantastic job! Glad to see some long-term investment into the program by the athletic department with Yuri’s extension and Erik Posegay’s promotion this will lead to the continuation of the program’s upwards trend! Can’t wait to watch!

Seth
9 months ago

My brother enjoyed Yuri as a coach when he swam there. Good man!

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
9 months ago

Let’s not forget that Yuri Suguiyama was Katie Ledecky’s club coach at NCAP.

Yozhik
Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
9 months ago

I cannot judge how Yuri Suguiyama is good as college head coach but the story of coaching Katie Ledecky isn’t the best part on his resume in my opinion. By his own words he had no clue what he had had on his hands. And that is because of him Katie missed the opportunity to have the second gold medal in London Olympics racing in 400 FR event. The times of Muffat and Schmitt in final were extremely tough even looking at them from 9 years distance. But the girl who won Olympic gold medal in 800 race swimming the first half with 4:04 had a real chance to win the gold medal in 400 event as well. Have Suguiyama… Read more »

Proudhoosier
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

Only the swimswam comment section will you find someone pointing out flaws to a 15 year old winning a gold medal

Yozhik
Reply to  Proudhoosier
9 months ago

The swimswam comment section provides you a plenty th of opportunities to submit proven facts of how much of Yuri’s contribution was a 15 year old winning a gold medal.
My points are the following:
1. In London Ledecky was ready to challenge Muffat’s 4:01.
2. And with that Ledecky failed to get on 400 Olympic event at OT where the competition was less strong than in London.
3. Ledecky’s gold medal race splits 4:04 – 4:10 we’re the worst in her history of racing this event. Was it her coach’s design or recommendations. It proves to me that she was pretty much on her own with her success.
4. Listen to Suguiyama’s report on… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Yozhik
ReneDescartes
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

You probably also say Bowman failed with Phelps in 2000 because he didn’t medal or win gold.

Yozhik
Reply to  ReneDescartes
9 months ago

Sorry, I know nothing about that to say something.

Last edited 9 months ago by Yozhik
MarkB
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

His philosophy worked in the short run pretty well – and in the long run, extremely well!

Swummer
Reply to  Proudhoosier
7 months ago

As I recall Katie’s FIRST Trials cut was in the summer of 2011. Shortly afterward she began pointing toward distance races because she liked them and Yuri and other NCAP coaches thought she had such a great engine for it. Then Katie had a breakout meet in the spring of 2012 at a Grand Prix meet (this is from memory, but should be close). Yuri and other NCAP coaches thought Katie’s best chance to make the team would be in the 800, so that became the plan. After the Olympics Yuri went to Cal and Gemmell took over NCAP and became Katie’s coach, helping to develop her into a multi-event star. It’s kind of silly to compare Yuri and Gemmell… Read more »

He said what?
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

How bitter are you?

Yozhik
Reply to  He said what?
9 months ago

I like facts no matter it they bitter or sweat. I don’t like to be fooled by emotions.

MarkB
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

You’re basing your whole premise on her performance in the 800 – with the benefit of hindsight. Yuri was coaching in the moment and had a 15 year old with a great shot at making the US Olympic Team in the 800. She did and was the youngest swimmer there. That she didn’t crack under the pressure was amazing. Focussing on one event couldn’t have hurt. I wonder if you were saying BEFORE the 800 in London, “Man, she should have made the 400, too!” If so, change your handle to Nostradamus.

Mike
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

I think you can go through history with all of the great and good coaches and find opportunities that were lost. Far more than the number of coaches that are willing to admit that they might have not known what they had on their hands.

Yozhik
Reply to  Mike
9 months ago

Nobody argues with that. But taking credits for something what you haven’t done or contributed very little isn’t a good style. BTW Yuri Suguiysma as a nice and honest person never did that as far as I know . It is some not knowledgeable sport fans do it for him.

John
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

There is no mention of ledecky in this article and if you truly believe « the story of coaching Katie ledecky isn’t the best part on his resume » then Why mention it. Let this article and his achievements here speak for themselves.

Yozhik
Reply to  John
9 months ago

It was my reply to other commenter who mentioned it first.

John
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

You have very disproportionate responses to people a lot of the time.

Last edited 9 months ago by John
Yozhik
Reply to  John
9 months ago

Will learn from you. Make a reference to the example of your well proportioned response. But don’t use the samples of personal attacks or teaching people how they should live their life. I won’t accept it as learning materials. Sorry.

John
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

I would submit our interaction as that exact point. Not sure how personal attacks factor into this. A little too much “boy cried wolf” for my taste.

Yozhik
Reply to  John
9 months ago

Ok

John
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

I hope you are

Rev
Reply to  Yozhik
9 months ago

Just wondering how many swimmers you have coached who made the US Olympic Team. There are no guarantees at Olympic Trials and his job was to help her make the team which he did. No room to criticize if you haven’t been there.

Yozhik
Reply to  Rev
9 months ago

I have coached no comparative swimmers. But as any professionals the job of swimming coach can be judged by some criteria. Those criteria depend pretty much on who is evaluating coach’s performance: sport fans, other coaches, administrators etc. In my opinion Yuri Suguiyama did a very mediocre job by coaching Katie Ledecky. Neither you no me know what could’ve happened in 2012 should Katie had another coach. But I saw the difference when Bruce Gemmell was in charge. Yes, Gemmel was coaching already proven dominant swimmer and he with Katie had 4 years plan for the next Olympic cycle. And we so the results immediately next year in Barcelona. She was faster at the same 800 event just for a… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Yozhik

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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