Matt Kredich on being named head coach of men's and women's swimming/diving program
Dave Hart on Matt Kredich's being named head coach of combined program
It's all in the pool together for Tennessee swimming and diving now.
UT merged a second sport Thursday as Matt Kredich was named coach of a combined men's and women's swimming and diving program.
Kredich has been coach of the Lady Vols for seven years. The program finished second in the SEC and seventh nationally in the 2012 season.
"We've got a lot to do,'' Kredich said, "so my mind is spinning a little bit. But I've got a pretty good idea of what the next steps are.''
Two years ago, UT combined men's and women's track and field under the direction of women's coach J.J. Clark.
When UT fired longtime men's swim coach John Trembley in January for "gross misconduct" the opportunity for further streamlining presented itself.
Lars Jorgensen was promoted to interim men's coach to get through the 2012 season. The Vols finished fourth in the SEC. A criminal investigation by the Knoxville Police Department into Trembley, meanwhile is ongoing.
First-year UT athletic director Dave Hart said track and swimming are the two sports suitable to merger. UT was the last SEC school to operate separate men's and women's swim programs.
Hart arrived at UT in September. He said Kredich caught his eye quickly during department-wide one-on-one discussions.
"If I were the athletic director at a different institution, looking for a head coach to lead a combined program, this guy would have been at the very top of my list,'' Hart said.
"Talking to people who really know swimming and know the pulse out there, I got nothing but terrific feedback on Matt.
"A lot of factors led me to the conclusion that the best guy out there to lead this combined program was already here.''
He got here in 2005 after several previous coaching jobs. Kredich, 47 and a cancer survivor, participated in the merger of men's and women's programs at Brown University and assumed overall direction. So this isn't new ground.
"Our men's team can now look at what the women have done to be successful,'' Kredich said, "and our women can look at the history of the men and get to know more about University of Tennessee swimming.''
Kredich, a Duke graduate, said he will take his time forming a staff. When complete it will total five coaches (himself and four assistants), one more than if the programs were separate.
"This structure is going to serve our student/athletes even more than we would as individual programs,'' he said.
The merger of men's and women's track has not been easy. Kredich says he has a good relationship with the men swimmers and that the athletes on the two squads are close.
"There are some guys who come by my office and we'll talk for a long time,'' he said. "Others, I know enough to say hi to.''
Terms of Kredich's contract were not released. His base salary as women's coach was $125,664.
The merger won't faze one longtime staff member. Dave Parrington has coached men's and women's divers since he came to UT in 1990.
"It's going to be different working with one swim coach as opposed to two,'' Parrington said with a smile. "I guess my meetings will be cut in half, which would be a good thing.''