WVU Announces Xavier’s Brent MacDonald As New Head Swim & Dive Coach

West Virginia University has named Brent MacDonald as the new head coach of its swim & dive program.

MacDonald comes to WVU from Xavier, where he’s been on staff for 18 years, including the last 16 seasons as the head coach (one as interim).

He takes over as the head coach of the Mountaineers from Vic Riggs, who resigned from his post after 17 years in April.

MacDonald was an assistant with the Musketeers for two seasons, beginning in 2006, before he was named the interim head coach in 2008. After the 2008-09 campaign, he shed the interim tag and was named the full-time head coach at Xavier

“I am honored and excited to be the next men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach at WVU,” MacDonald said.

“I want to thank Athletics Director Wren Baker and Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director Brittney O’Dell for trusting me to lead the Mountaineers in the pool. The world-class facilities and elite student-athlete experience make this a great opportunity. My family and I can’t wait to get to Morgantown to begin enjoying the community we’ve heard so many wonderful things about. I can’t wait to get to work!”

During his tenure at Xavier, MacDonald led the men’s team to six Big East Championship titles in eight years. That run included the Musketeers winning the conference title during their first season in the Big East conference in 2013-14, with MacDonald earning Big East Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year honors.

That was the first of three straight titles, and they had another run of three consecutive victories from 2018-19 through 2020-21.

In addition to winning the award in 2014, MacDonald was also named Big East Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year in 2015, 2020 and 2023.

Most recently, the Xavier men have been Big East runner-ups for three straight years.

The Xavier women’s team recorded their highest finish in program history under MacDonald in 2019, placing 2nd at the Big East Championships. They’ve been 4th the past two seasons after three straight 3rd-place finishes.

While coaching in the Atlantic 10, MacDonald led the men’s team to three 3rd-place finishes at the conference level, matching their highest in program history.

He was named A-10 Men’s Coach of the Year in 2012, and guided Michael Zennedjian, one of the best Xavier swimmers in program history, to a wide array of success including the 2009 A-10 Rookie of the Year honor and two A-10 Most Outstanding Performer wins in 2011 and 2012.

“Coach MacDonald has built a consistent and winning program in the pool and in the classroom at Xavier in two different conferences over the past 16 years,” Baker said.

“We have an aquatics center and great all-around support system here at West Virginia University for him to use in building his swimming program. He demonstrated during the interview process a high commitment to developing elite student-athletes who excel academically and athletically. His experience and leadership qualities will greatly benefit our swim and dive program and our community. I am excited to have Brent and his family as Mountaineers.”

Prior to his time at Xavier, MacDonald spent two years as the aquatics director at the Marshfield YMCA in Wisconsin. He also served as the head coach of the girls’ swimming team at Marshfield High School in Wisconsin and was an assistant sat Noblesville High School in Indiana.

MacDonald takes over a WVU squad that’s coming off a 6th-place finish (out of eight teams) on the women’s side and a 5th-place finish (out of five teams) on the men’s side at the Big 12 Championships.

Prior to his coaching career, he swam four years at Valparaiso, where he was a school record holder and a 2003 graduate with a degree in sports administration.

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pete kennedy
27 days ago

Congratulations Brent.

College Swimming Man
27 days ago

Wow! Huge loss for Xavier and massive win for West Virginia.

Brent built a championship program at Xavier with little to no help from the athletic department. Winning 6 BE titles with no divers is not a small feat. Would be 9 BE titles (6 in a row) without Georgetown diving 5.

The next few weeks should be interesting out in Cincinnati in terms of what comes next for the Musketeers. Great time to fully support that team and add diving. Congrats to Brent, well deserved!

Follow my bubbles
27 days ago

Smart move into a Power 4 conference! I wish him well.

27 days ago

facilities upgrade fer sher

27 days ago

Seems like a solid hire. Good for WVU.

Now, about that air quality …….

27 days ago

They took their time (maybe choice…… maybe not) and seemingly found a solid choice. I hadn’t heard of Brent but for him to choose to move his family to WV and take this program on….. you can’t say he doesn’t have guts. Wishing him all the best.

Reply to  Submerged
27 days ago

WVU kept their last underperforming coach for 18 years. Wont have to do much to look good.

Reply to  Jeah
27 days ago

Easy job to get, easy to look good fast. Smart move.

Alex Lewis
27 days ago

Awesome Person, Coach, and Friend! Excited to see what he does at this level! WVU with a Home Run Hire!

Coach Cwik
27 days ago

I hope this is the coach that can coach swimmers. Wondering how many National Levels swimmers he has ever developed?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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