The UW-River Falls swimming and diving team just hired a new head coach, saving their season and program.
When this story is looked at from the surface, it is one to be truly happy about and we want to congratulate the swimming and diving team, and athletic department on that fact.
For the past two months the team has been staring adversity right in the face. They were told by the athletic department that the program was likely to be suspended due to the fact a new coach had not been hired after their former coach left two months ago.
We believe that everything the team has gone through in the past two months could have been avoided if the athletic department had put proper attention into their situation.
Yes, they did bring in two applicants and yes, they could have never foreseen the two applicants they had brought in withdrawing their names from the position.
But how is it possible that the athletic department was so ready to give up on the program and throw in the towel on the head coach search?
After convincing the department to extend the coach search by one week, the team was able to get eight applicants. While the swim team should clearly be involved in the head coach search, what other team on campus would be put in full responsibility of finding their own coach, because the athletic department failed to do so?
Recall, for example, when the football team’s defensive coordinator left last December, a new one was hired one month later despite football season not starting until late summer.
There is no doubt that the athletic department is proud and supportive of all UWRF athletics, but when you compare how these two different situations were handled it is a head scratcher.
Even though the swim team now has a head coach, this situation has put them behind in pre-season work outs and practices. They will now have less than one month to prepare for their first meet of the season.
When looking at these details it would seem that the swim team has been ignored and forgotten. Every athlete on campus puts in a lot of work to be a Div. III athlete. None of them get any scholarships to do so. They do it for the love of the sport.
The swimming and diving team showed how much they love their sport by banding together to save their program, and that is something we hope the athletic department will take note of and give every sport on campus their equal support and attention in the future.