Bowman hired to take ASU swim program to next level

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                </div>  The coaching carousel at Arizona State continues to spin at a dizzying speed as Ray Anderson, the school’s athletic director hired just 16 months ago, goes about a major […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The coaching carousel at Arizona State continues to spin at a dizzying speed as Ray Anderson, the school’s athletic director hired just 16 months ago, goes about a major effort to re-make the sports landscape at the Pac-12 school.

ASU president Michael Crow hired Anderson away from the NFL, where he was vice president for football operations, to spearhead a drive to take the Sun Devil sports programs across the board to another level.  They want the school to be included in the conversation any time the talk turns to the elite Division I programs competing in the NCAA.

The hire of a new head coach for the Sun Devil swim & dive teams is the latest building block in that effort.

Yesterday, Anderson announced the hire of Bob Bowman, who will replace Dorsey Tierney-Walker as the head coach for the school’s swim & dive program.  The dismissal of Tierney-Walker was announced by Anderson on the last day of March and fewer than four weeks later Bowman was on board.

Tierney-Walker spent six years in charge of the ASU swim program, but was unable to match the success she enjoyed during her seven years at Indiana University and, most recently, as co-women’s head coach for four years at Auburn.  The Tigers won two national championships and two SEC Conference title while Tierney-Walker was there, and she won a couple of Big Ten Coach of the Year honors while at Indiana.

She coached both the men’s and women’s teams at ASU.  The men finished the season in fifth place at the Pac-12 Championships and the women took a seventh place.

While we’re not exactly seeing a scorched-earth policy during Anderson’s 16 months on the job, Tierney-Walker is the fourth head coach out the door in that span.  The first to go was wrestling coach Shawn Charles, who was replaced by Zeke Jones just three months after Anderson took his seat in the AD chair.  In just 12 months, Jones has built a top-five recruiting class.

Almost before the door could slam behind Charles, baseball coach Tim Esmay was asked to resign.  On June 24, Anderson brought in Tracy Smith, a former professional player who won two Coach of the Year titles in the Big Ten Conference and was also recognized as a national Coach of the Year.

But the most high-profile coaching change came exactly one month ago when Anderson dismissed his head basketball coach, Herb Sendek, after the former North Carolina head coach spent nine years trying to build the Sun Devil program into something that could take it’s place on the national stage – or at least keep up with that hated rival to the south where Sean Miller has enjoyed tremendous success with the Wildcat program since arriving in Tucson six years ago.

Sendek’s team was eliminated in the second round of the NIT on a Sunday.  By the following Tuesday, Herb was cleaning out his locker.

Bobby Hurley was hired on April 9, bringing one of the most recognizable names in the game to Tempe to become the face of the men’s basketball program.

And now Bob Bowman will accomplish much the same thing for the swimming & diving program.  He is arguably the most recognized name among swim coaches after spending years working with Olympian Michael Phelps.  He will continue coaching Phelps by moving the training site to Arizona.

Anderson called Bowman an “icon” in the sport, and one of the most respected coaches in the industry when introducing him yesterday as his new head coach.  And Bowman’s resume certainly validates the use of that word. The American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Hall of Fame coach is a five-time recipient of the organization’s national Coach of the Year award and six times was voted the USA Swimming Coach of the Year.

He has also been an assistant coach at three Summer Olympics.

A two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year while directing the University of Michigan program from 2005-2008, he most recently has been the Chief Operating Officer and head coach for the Baltimore Aquatic Club, which works with high-performance swimmers and Olympic medalists.

Like Tierney-Walker, he will direct both the men’s and women’s teams.

“Under Bob’s guidance, we will compete for individual, conference, and national titles,” said Anderson when addressing the media yesterday, “and produce All-Americans and Olympians.

“And create the most expansive developmental swim program in all of collegiate sports.”

Phew!  Sounds like the icon has his work cut out for him.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)