UA swim program back in the hands of a Busch (Augie)


If the name of the new swimming & diving coach at University of Arizona sounds familiar, there’s good reason.

Augie Busch spent eight years as an assistant coach with the Pac-12 program before departing six years ago to take over as the women’s head coach at the University of Houston.  And for the past four years he has been the men’s and women’s head coach at the University of Virginia.

Now he’s been hired back to Arizona to replace Rick DeMont who retired from the Wildcat program at the end of May after 30 years with the program, the last three as head coach.

But there’s even more reason to recognize the Busch name.  Augie’s father, Frank Busch, was the Wildcats’ head coach for 22 years.  He left in February of 2011 to accept a position as National Team Director for USA Swimming.

It was logical to assume that Augie was in line to assume his father’s role, but that didn’t happen and the school went outside to hire Eric Hansen away from the University of Wisconsin.  So, three months after his father left, Augie followed him out the door to accept a job as the women’s head swim coach at University of Houston.

Hansen resigned midway through his third season at Arizona and the administration turned inward this time and elevated DeMont to take the reins and bring some stability to a program that had gained national acclaim under the elder Busch, a six-time recipient of the NCAA Coach of the Year award.

Bringing Augie Busch back also takes some of the risk out of the first major coaching hire for Arizona’s new athletic director, Dave Heeke, who came on board at the end of February.  Not only will Busch, a UofA grad, be taking over a men’s and women’s program he knows well, but he has also proven himself as a head coach at two different Division I schools.

Busch enjoyed success in his two years at Houston, which led to the offer to take over at Virginia.  His team broke seven school records during his last season directing the Cougar program and was runner-up at the Conference USA Championships, the best finish in program history.

In his four years at Virginia, the women’s team won three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and posted two fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. His teams also set 30 school records, eight conference records, and three NCAA records.  Busch was named the ACC women’s Swimming Coach of the Year three times.

“Augie has the experience and aptitude to build on the storied history of Arizona swimming and diving,” said Heeke in commenting on his first big hire.  “I am confident that he’ll lead our program to prominence at both the Pac-12 and NCAA levels.”

Actually, Heeke will be adding more than one coach from the Busch family tree to his program.  Augie’s brother, Sam Busch, who has been serving on the Cavalier staff, is expected to join him in Tucson.