Wisconsin To Name Cal Assistant Yuri Suguiyama New Head Coach

The first major coaching domino in what should be an eventful 2018 offseason has fallen: Wisconsin is expected to name Cal associate head coach Yuri Suguiyama as the new head of the Badger swim & dive program, sources tell SwimSwam.

Suguiyama has been a name frequently mentioned in connection with head coaching openings the past few years. He’s been an assistant on staff with the California men for the past six seasons, helping the Bears win a national title in 2014 and earning runner-up finishes in each of his other five seasons, including this past year.

He’s perhaps best-known, though for his work pre-Cal – Suguiyama got his start coaching at Nation’s Capital Swim Club, where his top student was a young distance swimmer named Katie LedeckySuguiyama coached Ledecky onto the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 when Ledecky was just 15 years old, and the teen sensation went on to win Olympic gold, her first in a star-studded career.

Suguiyama was at Nation’s Capital for six years, followed by six at Cal. In that time, he’s been a part of Team USA coaching staffs for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, the 2015 World University Games and the 2016 Rio Olympics. (Wisconsin’s press release says Suguiyama was “named special assistant to the national team director for Team USA” in Rio). He was also the head coach of Team USA at the 2016 Short Course World Championships.

Suguiyama primarily worked with distance and middle-distance swimmers at Cal, and that’s also where Ledecky excelled under Suguiyama.

Update: Cal head coach Dave Durden passed along official comment on Suguiyama’s departure from the program:

“I spoke with our athletes this morning about this wonderful opportunity for both Yuri and Abby as he continues his advancement in the professional coaching circles,” Durden says. “Yuri has done a fantastic job with our program over the last six seasons, and has made a lasting impact in our athletes’ career both athletically and personally.  I am excited for both Yuri and Abby as this is both rewarding and challenging as he leaves our environment to head to the University of Wisconsin!”

Suguiyama will take over a Wisconsin program that was 17th on the women’s side at NCAAs last year, 5th in the Big Ten for women and 6th in the Big Ten for men. The Badgers have exciting rising junior Beata Nelsona home-grown prospect who won Big Ten titles in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes and was an NCAA finalist in both backstrokes and the 200 IM this past season.

This should be a particularly interesting offseason for coaching hires. Wisconsin was one of the bigger program openings along with Auburn, and now the Badger job is off the table and Suguiyama off the potential candidates list. Other Division I programs with openings are Virginia Tech, Northwestern, TCU, Holy Cross, Delaware, Georgia Southern and Stony Brook.

 

Quotes from Wisconsin’s press release confirming the hire:

“We’re excited to bring Yuri to Madison,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. “His track record as a coach speaks for itself, but he will also bring great energy to our program. His passion for the sport and the athletes he’s coaching will only make us better.”

“I am both excited and humbled to join the University of Wisconsin as the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs,” Suguiyama said. “It has been a dream of mine to lead a program, and there’s no better place to do so than at a school that has so much to offer, like Wisconsin.

“I want to thank Coach Alvarez and senior associate athletic director Marija Pientka for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to building upon the program’s tradition by getting to know our current team, putting together an awesome staff and recruiting student-athletes of high character who are good fits for Wisconsin both academically and athletically. I can’t wait to get started.”

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SwimGeek
3 years ago

Boom –Yuri finally gets a HC position. Will be interesting to see if Cal loses BOTH men’s coaches this year.

Ervin
Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

Can someone fill me in on why there is speculation the Durden will leave Cal? I honestly don’t see why he would do it. Is the pay raise that significant?

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Ervin
3 years ago

The pay raise, combined with decreased cost of living, is definitely that significant. Durden was formerly a coach at Auburn, and his wife swam there, so there’s lots of strong ties.

That speculation comes with two assumptions that I think are being misread:

1) that the new Auburn AD will continue to pay for the job what the old one did
2) that swim coaches are indifferent to where they live. There’s a reason that the cost of living in Alabama is lower than in Berkeley…depends on what the individual values.

Lori
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Isn’t Cal an endowed program? One of many reasons to stay where he is.

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Lori
3 years ago

It is. Cal “Aquatics” (M&W swimming and diving and water polo) has about a $20 million endowment. They’ll be safe in the face of pending athletics cuts at Cal

usaswimerror
Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

I don’t know DD, but I think he should seriously consider the Auburn job. California has imposed a travel ban to the state of Texas, and Austin is hosting the 2019 men’s NCAAs. I know that lots of people think that the NCAA will move the meet, but the travel ban list is getting long. Miss one championship and the recruiting of elite swimmers will be over. California and their political agenda just may get in the way of recruiting and training the best athletes going forward. He could wait for the Texas job, but waiting is always a crap shoot.

Swisher
Reply to  usaswimerror
3 years ago

The travel ban fiasco will get sorted out soon, at least as it relates to NCAA sports and academic travel. Nobody, not even Californians, will support these kinds of restrictions. They won’t last. I really don’t think Durden has to be overly concerned about it.

“…one California lawmaker has introduced Assembly Bill 2389 to change that and allow California colleges to use taxpayer money for athletic and academic trips to the banned states.”
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article205308374.html

Sum Ting Wong
Reply to  Swisher
3 years ago

Banned States in the United States .

2 Cents
Reply to  Swisher
3 years ago

I believe it also was under the term “unnecessary travel” which as it applies to college athletics makes an exception for NCAA competition or at least championship competition, hence why the NCAA has not taken away the championships from Austin yet. Also, I believe there was a grandfather clause in there if anything was already scheduled, like the NCAA scheduling NCAA events years in advance. There is still some question as to whether that would apply to duel meets though or conference competitions that might be in those states… although I dont believe any CA schools are in the same conference as any TX schools… but I could be wrong.

Swimmer A
Reply to  usaswimerror
3 years ago

I don’t think the travel ban is playing into Dave Durden’s decision making. It’s just wishful thinking.

Muddy Canary
3 years ago

What a huge get for the Badgers, expect him to do great work. Will have a stud to work with right away in Beata, too.

bob
Reply to  Muddy Canary
3 years ago

Again, I do not, in any way shape or form say that Yuri is not the right person for the job, because he is obviously in a great place and has done some good coaching. I don’t want haters thinking that he cannot do the job, because I have no idea!! But what makes him the person that so many programs fought for to be the next best coach in the country? Is it because Meehan has done so well at Stanford after working with Durden? I truly hope he is the best for UW!! But curious about this passion for Yuri.

SwimSwum
Reply to  bob
3 years ago

He has a track record of success and people who know him best, swear by him. He’s a very highly regarded assistant coach at a major school, and that type of profile is typically where the next crop of great head coaches come from. It doesn’t mean he is a guaranteed success. But pretty much all of the indicators suggest he’ll do well at Wisconsin.

PKWater
3 years ago

This is pretty awesome for Him!
I am interested as to why people think DD would want to make the switch to Auburn. It seems like he has built a really strong team and really strong post grad team at Cal.

Coach
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

When you factor in cost of living, Auburn’s $$ go A LOT further than Cal’s. He’d be able to have much more leeway on getting recruits – including foreign athletes – into the university. … A LOT further

PKWater
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

Has he had a problem getting foreign athletes at Cal? I realize he is super young but I just feel like he is going to do what Reese has done at texas. Is he in his 50s yet?

Swimming4silver
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

so the pros are going to leave the bay, for alabama. nathan, ryan murphy?

coachymccoachface
Reply to  Swimming4silver
3 years ago

No shot Nathan Adrian moves to Alabama

Stan Crump
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

That is very interesting, because in the “olden” days, Cal had lots of great international athletes.

(G)olden Bear
Reply to  Stan Crump
3 years ago

Graham Smith, Par Arvidsson, Paolo Revelli, Pelle Holmertz, PA Magnusson, Adrian Moorhouse, Tommy Werner, Stefan Persson, Paul Kingsman, Thomas Lejdstrom, Mikael Soderlund…

Stan Crump
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

Yes! Captain Caveman!

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

What about Rolandis Gimbuitus, all 6’10 of him.

(G)olden Bear
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 years ago

And Mike Cavic…

Billy
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

Mike was born in Anaheim, CA and raised in Tustin, CA. I met his Dad a few times, he was a nice man and both parents were from Serbia. He was a lot more American than anything else, but took advantage of his Serbian lineage for swimming. . He had an older brother that played basketball at the Univ. of San Francisco. Great athletic genes in that family!

Fact checker
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

Cavic is a Southern California guy….swam at Irvine Nova with Salo…dual citizen

Hmmm...
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

How do you write that list and miss Damir Dugonjic?

Brad Flood
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

My good friend Bart Kizerowski and a number of other Polish Olympians.

BigNowhere
Reply to  (G)olden Bear
3 years ago

And Duje Draganja

SwimGeek
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

$$$$. Resources. Athletic Dept. support. Coached there previously. Wife is an alum.

completelyconquered
Reply to  SwimGeek
3 years ago

Alabama or the Bay? Swim outside in California or indoors at Auburn? (Although, do they have an outdoor pool too? I thought I remember them sculling gatorades outside.) More $$$, mo’ problems. Pretty sure Cal’s men’s team is endowed. Cathy has been onboard with the Cal Bears since Dave got there. She even gave me a Cal swimming t-shirt in Iowa City.

anonymous
Reply to  completelyconquered
3 years ago

Well, your rent is a lot cheaper in Alabama. The Bay area rents suck.

Coach
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

DD hasn’t gotten a raise in several years, Cal’s athletic department is 18+ million in the hole, and there doesn’t seem to be many signs that Cal plans to appreciate what they currently have with their swimming program.

johno
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

Like, by building a new facility from scratch? Or updating the old one in addition to that?

swimbystander
Reply to  johno
3 years ago

That pool came from “The Big Three” Not a huge upvote from the AD.

Scott Stubblefield
Reply to  swimbystander
3 years ago

Do they even swim in the new pool. I am certainly out of the loop now but every dual meet I saw clips of was at the old pool

Competitive swimmer
Reply to  Scott Stubblefield
3 years ago

New pool opens in fall of 2019

Stan Crump
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

A parade of expensive football coaches has hurt the “Olympic” sport salaries.

Coach
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

Oh, and how he has to hire and train another assistant coach.

Tony R
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

Cal often takes a big hit against the competition at NCAAs in diving. I imagine it has to be tough to recruit divers to train outdoors for a winter sport in Northern CA. Might he have better luck at an indoor facility in AL?

Dude
Reply to  Tony R
3 years ago

Cal just got a diving platform last year so their recruiting should continue to get better.

Seaworthy
Reply to  Dude
3 years ago

Too cold in Jan/ Feb for diving outside especially when the wind kicks up on a 10mt tower

dmswim
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

Not that coaching women is a bad thing, but coaching a combine team at Auburn is significantly more responsibility. While you have significant staff, you have twice as many athletes to get to know and recruit. That’s another factor to consider.

Chas
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

Maybe he likes humidity.

SwimSwum
3 years ago

Great hire for the Badgers. Yuri has some catching up to do in recruiting and in adding depth to the team, but things are definitely looking up in Madison.

Bubblz
Reply to  SwimSwum
3 years ago

Recruiting to the freezing cold midwest will present some major challenges, curious to see how this hire pans out. Good luck Wisconsin.

(G)olden Bear
3 years ago

Great hire! Yuri will transform that program. Things can only get better in Madison.

han
3 years ago

Never been impressed with Yuri, and am not convinced he is a great coach. We will see now.

Yozhik
Reply to  han
3 years ago

Finally some sober opinion.

NONA
Reply to  han
3 years ago

Guess we’ll see if he has what it takes to impress Han! lol

MortySmith
Reply to  han
3 years ago

Do you know how many swimmers he put on the Olympic team?

O_O
Reply to  han
3 years ago

Katie Ledecky

Yozhik
Reply to  O_O
3 years ago

Based on what he said in his presentation about Katie in 2012 it is easy to make a conclusion that he had no clue of what kind of unique talent he had on his hands. He was mostly focusing on her mental preparation for the big competition in OT. So that young naive and inexperienced high school freshman won’t get scared of big names in tough meet. Get scared? She was already dominant and crashed the field of Olympic finalists with world record holder by 4(!) sec. Yes, it was a huge surprise to everybody. But if there was somebody who should know he should be first one. He had no clue and didn’t treat and didn’t trained her as… Read more »

Joe
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Lol imagine believing this.

Hmmm...
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

yeah, because of all those 15-year-olds who crush the 400 at the Olympics….

SwimSwum
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Yeah, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Yuri knew Katie a hell of a lot better than you ever have. Maybe, just maybe, Yuri helped lay the foundation for the killer you see in the water today. You know that Yuri preached the aggressive style that Katie uses, right? Katie just made her first Olympic Trials cuts in the summer of 2011. The quotes you’re referring to reflect Yuri’s focus on guiding her through that year and the next one, even as he encouraged her to shoot for finals at Trials and eventually the Olympic team. She wound up placing 3rd in the 400 Free at the 2012 Olympic Trials, in the fastest time ever… Read more »

O_O
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Don’t you think it’s possible that both Gemmell and Yuri are great coaches?

Maybe you should reach out to Greg Meehan and check that he is coaching Katie Ledecky correctly.

Yozhik
Reply to  O_O
3 years ago

Maybe I will. 😀
Look nobody said that Yuri did nothing to her. He was her coach for long period of time. And the first credit I give him is for not ruining such an incredible talent by inappropriate training procedures, target setting, forcing standard techniques that are not suitable for particular swimmer etc. But you have to admit that getting on Olympic team was maximum that he targeted for her that season. When a young girl who just entered the freshman class of high school modestly says that she dreams to be an Olympian, his response was: ok, let’s work for it but keep it for herself. Nothing wrong to let a girl dreaming and motivated. He admitted… Read more »

Sccoach
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

I never know what the heck you are talking about. No offense, I assume there is a language barrier.

Yozhik
Reply to  Sccoach
3 years ago

I have a dream that one day we will sit in some quiet pleasant place talking together and after after third or fourth shot all barriers will disappear (I pay) 😀

SwimSwum
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

You know we can still see your first post, right? You wrote: “He had no clue and didn’t treat and didn’t trained her as such.”…. “He just didn’t know her and wasn’t up to the unique challenge. I even have an impression that she hadn’t listened to him much.” Seriously, what the hell are you even talking about?

Coach
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

The mental gymnastics required here would almost be impressive, if they’ve weren’t so sad. Pretty much everything that’s wrong with these types of message boards. I just hope you’re trolling and don’t actually believe this stuff.

Yozhik
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

I’m not trolling and do believe in what I have written for some very simple reason: I studied this period of Katie Ledecky’s swimming career. Why I did it? Because it was so interesting to answer the question how was it possible that practically nobody new or expected or predicted what was coming. We had many talks and prognosis about under sixteen Regan Smith, Claire Tuggle, Bingjie, Jianjiahe, Franklin and other young prodigies but nothing like this was told about supernova who is hundred times brighter. She was so unknown that the only explanation of her dominant “sudden” success was “doping” and “she isn’t a girl”. Check archives if you don’t remember. It took two years after London, four world… Read more »

Sccoach
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

I am convinced that Yozhik should be the next Auburn coach. Nobody has studied Katie Ledecky and Claire Tuggle more than Yozhik. Dave Durden and Yuri haven’t learned enough in their studies.

Yozhik
Reply to  Sccoach
3 years ago

Finally we are in agreement with sceptical SCCOACH without even getting drunk first 😀

bobo gigi
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Yozhik, in the summer of 2011 I wrote that KL would dominate very soon distance swimming.
For once, one of my predictions was right. 😆

coachymccoachface
Reply to  bobo gigi
3 years ago

What a bold prediction for a 14 year old going 4:35/9:29/16:07

Becky D
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
— Kierkegaard

Chestrockwell
Reply to  Coach
3 years ago

It’s like reading a post from r/the_donald on Reddit. You can’t even believe people think this way but they do. Maybe this guy is a Russian bot.

Anonymous
Reply to  O_O
3 years ago

Yuri and that other guy are not even close to similar. We are in the area and often forget that other guy’s name. Yuri, though, we never forget that one.

Tom
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Ledecky went 8:25 in the Spring of 2012,taking it out fast in 4:10 (after going 4:07 in the 400 at the same meet). I believe that was at Charlotte. Taking it out fast was her m.o. all along….She was mad about not getting second in the 400 at Olympic Trials with her 4:05, which may have been what she needed in order the kill that 800 in London. She and Yuri knew how good she was. I read that she was out-repeating everybody (men and women) at the Olympic team training camps before London.

Swimming4silver
3 years ago

no DAVE is not going to Auburn….

han
3 years ago

Yuri was part of the 2016 USA Olympic staff? Since when?

Gorb
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

Then both of these bios are incorrect. Yuri was not officially on the staff of the US Olympic team, and to put that on those bios is dishonest and misleading.

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Gorb
3 years ago

Gorb – he was officially on the staff of the U.S. Olympic Team. For whatever reason, the USOC wanted to keep it quiet, but he absolutely was on the staff.

Greg
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

USA Swimming will invite the personal coaches of swimmers to the training camps and assist in competition credentialing; however, they are not part of the official US team or roster. Is this what happened with Yuri?

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Greg
3 years ago

This is not what happened with Yuri. Yuri travelled with the team to Rio and was there with them for the entirety of the Olympic Games. I assume the reason for not formally announcing it had to do with some political motive and the optics of taking an assistant or 2 coaches from one staff rather than pulling a coach of another team member.

And if you still don’t believe me, there is evidence all over his Instagram. This is not the reason by which I know he was a member of the staff, however hopefully it will help assuage concerns over whether I’m making it up.

Gorb
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Nope. Prove it. I have the official booklet given to all Olympic staff members and athletes (swimmers) and no where on this is Yuri stated as being on staff in any capacity. I would be curious to hear the USOC’s stance and/or USA Swimming’s take on it. Yuri was not listed on the staff on the USA Swimming website prior to the games, nor is he in the official staff photos. Why would the USOC want to “keep it quiet.”

He may have been on the US side of the pool with the attire, but i will maintain he was never on staff or involved with USA Olympic team in any official role or capacity.

Greg
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

Ah, that explains it. I say the following not from firsthand Team USA Rio experience, but from numerous other Team USA staff experiences.

Similar to what I mentioned earlier, it sounds as if Yuri served as a member of the US delegation, but not as an official member of the USA coaching staff. That’s why he wasn’t in the pics, press book, etc. This is a loophole that USA Swimming utilizes to get more coaches on deck, the coaches of athletes on the US team, the coaches of medal contenders. Urbanchek has served in this capacity in the past. To the media he looked like a Team USA coach. To the other coaches on the deck he looked like a… Read more »

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Greg
3 years ago

Hey Greg, at some point it becomes a splitting of hairs as to what defines “on a staff” and “not on a staff.” Unlike Gorb’s definition, I think 99.99% of the swimming community would define “being on deck, standing with Team USA, as a credentialed part of their delegation, in a USA Swimming shirt” as “on staff.” Gorb seems to have some warped definition of what “on a staff” means, which implies that Gorb has some particular personal interest in keeping Yuri’s name disconnected from that staff. Can’t guess what that would be, but sounds like Gorb wants everyone to acknowledge that Yuri was ‘lesser than’ whomever else’s resume Gorb is trying to protect. But, regardless, the reporting and bios… Read more »

Guy
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

I think what defines “being on staff” is being listed as a member of the staff. That seems to be pretty obvious.

Gorb
Reply to  Jared Anderson
3 years ago

Jared and Braden;

A press release from Wisconsin does not prove Yuri was on team USA, nor does the fact that Yuri posted as much on his Instagram. You and Wisconsin are misinformed.

Yuri was also not named special assistant in Rio, Jack Roach was given this role.

You will not find anywhere that Yuri was an official staff member of Team USA for Rio, and for him to claim such a distinction is disingenuous.

Calbearfan
Reply to  Gorb
3 years ago

Gorb- Not sure what your beef is….please go to 6:35 in this video and explain. This was a USA swimming sponsored event….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3vAQGexK-o

I think this ends this discussion. GO YURI!!!

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  Calbearfan
3 years ago

“No, I have a souvenir booklet that I trust more than two swimming journalists, the hiring departments of two major universities and clear photo and video evidence.”

– Gorb, probably

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  Gorb
3 years ago

Does an anonymous internet comment from someone with a souvenir booklet prove it? Present your evidence that’s better than ours.

SwimWatcher
Reply to  Gorb
3 years ago

Ok, let’s play a game of ‘guess which former Olympic coach Gorb is who’s trying to protect their resume!” I’d guess Teri. Seems personal.

Swim coaches fluff their resumes exponentially every year – there’s a reason why swimming “All-american” is so easy to earn relative to other sports, both in high school and college – so coaches can pad their resumes. And THIS is the sword you want to die on? Trying to convince us all that a coach who was on deck as part of the U .S. Olympic delegation coaching swimmers at the Olympic Games was not on the Olympic staff??

Braden Keith(@braden)
Admin
Reply to  SwimWatcher
3 years ago

Please don’t play a guessing game with commenters’ identities – it’s a violation of commenting rules.

(Plus, I know who Gorb is, and it’s not Teri).

coachymccoachface
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Do you know who everyone is?

SWIM.MA
Reply to  SwimWatcher
3 years ago

Does anyone else think that Gorb is Andy Kershaw?

Kershaw is USA Head Manager, which is “on staff”, but not actually a coaching position. Maybe his ego is a bit bruised about loosing the Cal assistant job to Yuri a few years ago, and now can’t handle that Yuri gets credit on actually coaching when he is working with Team USA — even if Yuri is “on staff” or not by textbook definition.

#freeyuri

swimtroll
Reply to  SwimWatcher
3 years ago

Teri doesn’t read SwimSwam. You can guess why.

gator
Reply to  han
3 years ago

no – 2012 – London with Ledecky

Guy
Reply to  han
3 years ago

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 …

Read More »