After winning its first Ivy League title in six years, the Harvard varsity men’s swimming and diving team has officially begun the search for a head coach.
The announcement comes six months after previous head coach Tim D. Murphy left Harvard for the same position at Pennsylvania State University. Murphy coached men’s swimming and diving at Harvard for 15 years, and he tallied a 122-11 dual meet record and seven undefeated dual meet seasons during that time.
Since Murphy’s exit, Kevin M. Tyrell has served as interim head coach. His short tenure has been one of the most successful in recent memory. This past season, the team captured its 23rd Ivy League championship and spoiled Princeton’s five-year conference title streak.
Tyrell’s success this season led some swimmers on the team to believe that he would make an excellent candidate for the official full-time position.
“When it comes down to it, it’ll be [Tyrrell] against a couple of other very qualified candidates, and I think we’re all pretty confident that he’ll be given the head coaching job,” swimmer Griffin T. Schumacher ’15 said.
“Everyone [on the team] wants [Tyrrell] to come back,” he continued. “He’s done an incredible job in his one year, [and] we won the Ivy League title and that’s definitely a bonus. I don’t think you could find a single person [on the team] that wouldn’t want him to return.”
According to a letter written by Director of Athletics Robert L. Scalise to the Friends of Harvard Swimming and Diving, the athletic department is “charged with running a search process” in accordance with Harvard’s policies.
The current search committee is chaired by Patricia Henry, senior associate director of athletics, and is exploring the possibility of promoting Tyrrell and investigating other potential outside candidates, Scalise wrote in the letter.
“While we have an outstanding internal candidate, in order to be good stewards of the program, we believe it is in the best long-term interest of swimming and diving at Harvard to look outside as well and to do a full, thorough search for the next head coach,” Scalise wrote.
Joining Scalise and Henry on the committee are Fred Schernecker '89, director of Harvard men's and women's golf; Paul A. Gompers '86, an HBS professor; and Gary Brown, associate director of Harvard Athletics. Current team leaders on the men’s swimming and diving squad also met with the committee and will have the opportunity to speak with finalists for the position.
Senior captain Chris L. Satterthwaite ’14 said that he believes the committee will make the right choice and is confident the team will flourish under the new head coach next season.
“I have no doubt the athletic administration...will make a decision that’s right for the future,” Satterthwaite said. “I’m sure that whoever’s the coach next year, I’m sure I would have been happy to swim under them.”
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