LA JOLLA, Calif. - David Marsh, a top-level coach of elite swimmers for over 30 years who guided the 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Team to 16 medals, has been named the new head coach of the University of California San Diego men's and women's swimming and diving programs. The announcement was made Tuesday by UC San Diego Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards.
Marsh heads cross country to La Jolla from Charlotte, N.C., where he spent the past 10 years as the CEO and Director of Coaching of SwimMAC Carolina. Within that structure, Marsh established and coached Team Elite, which includes SwimMAC's impressive list of professional swimmers. SwimMAC generated 14 Olympians for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games during Marsh's tenure, with that group compiling 11 gold, two silver and one bronze medal. All told, 38 USA Swimming national champions and 27 junior national champions came from SwimMAC the last decade.
Marsh led the women of Team USA to unprecedented success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with a final medal haul of eight gold, four silver and four bronze. That contingent featured the likes of Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Maya DiRado and Lilly King. Team Elite placed more U.S. Olympians than any program in the country, six, with Kathleen Baker, co-captain Anthony Ervin, Jimmy Feigen, Ryan Lochte and Katie Meili all earning gold medals.
"I'm thrilled to join the UC San Diego family," said Marsh. "UC San Diego is an amazing academic institution with a rapidly-developing athletic program, an amazing aquatic facility and an unparalleled location, which tells me there's incredible potential.
"The swimming and diving teams have an outstanding history and the sport has a strong presence throughout the San Diego community. In meeting and talking with Director of Athletics Earl Edwards, members of the coaching staff and many of the current team members, I was struck by the pride and commitment. This is a department and university that is building momentum, and I look forward to contributing to the next steps of what I see as a bright future."
"Whenever you have the opportunity to add a coach of David Marsh's stature, you look at it seriously," added Edwards. "In David, we are getting a coach with a stellar record of success, who understands and embraces the culture of our program and the University.
"I feel he will bring with him a combination of experience, energy and creativity, that has the potential to help elevate not only the swimming and diving teams, but our entire program. We have an outstanding coaching staff in place at UC San Diego, and David Marsh will certainly fit in well."
Prior to his time in Charlotte, Marsh was the head coach of the men's and women's swimming and diving teams at Auburn University from 1990-2007. He led the Tiger men to seven national titles, including five straight from 2003-07, and the women to five. Those five all came within a six-year span between 2002-07, with a runner-up showing in 2005. The men were also national runners-up three times under Marsh.
Additionally, March's Auburn Tigers combined for 17 Southeastern Conference (SEC) crowns, highlighted by 11 consecutive men's championships from 1997-2007. He was a nine-time national and 13-time SEC Coach of the Year. Marsh coached countless All-Americans, 10 Academic All-Americans, and 49 Olympic athletes from 19 different countries.
For USA Swimming prior to 2016, Marsh was an assistant coach on the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Olympic staffs, and involved in numerous other competitions around the globe. He was named USA Swimming's developmental Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014 for his work with SwimMAC.
Marsh swam at Auburn from 1978-81 and graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. His wife, Kristin, swam at California and is also an accomplished sports educator, most recently as head coach at Pine Lake Preparatory. Of their three children, Aaron will be a junior at Charlotte's Queens University, Alyssa a sophomore swimmer at Duke, and Maddie a high school senior.
Both the UC San Diego men and women are nine-time defending champions of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC). The Triton women sent 17 to the 2017 NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala., in March, and placed 16th, one year after bringing a third-place trophy back to La Jolla. Seven UCSD men teamed up for a 19th-place national showing this season.
Marsh replaces Daniel Perdew, arguably the greatest sprinter in UCSD program history, who resigned to pursue other options after three seasons. Perdew was the interim head coach in 2014-15 before being elevated to the position of men's head coach for 2015-16. He had the added responsibility of interim women's head coach in 2016-17 while Corrie Falcon was on maternity leave. Falcon also resigned after the season to focus her time on her family with two young children. She had served as women's head coach since 2011-12, when Perdew returned to his alma mater as an assistant. Falcon was a Triton assistant coach for four years prior to that.
UCSD produced 18 individual and one relay national champions during Falcon's 10 seasons in the program, and five individual in Perdew's six years. Perdew himself was a five-time national champion as a Triton, and still holds school records in both sprint freestyle events, and as the anchor of the 200- and 400-yard free relays. Falcon was a three-time PCSC Women's Coach of the Year, with Perdew gaining the men's distinction in his second go-around in 2015-16. Each earned multiple PCSC Championships Coach of the Meet distinctions.
Marsh is currently in Indianapolis, Ind., for the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships, which began on Tuesday morning. His official start date at UC San Diego is July 15.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT DAVID MARSH
David Durden - Men's Swimming Head Coach, California
"I've known David for 17 years and he's a key figure in who I am as a coach. David is unique in his ability to make swimmers and coaches around him better. He's a very special person and he's going to be a huge asset to UCSD. There's also no doubt, he's going to have a positive impact on swimming in California."
Cullen Jones - Team Elite, Two-Time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist
"David is an excellent coach, and I enjoyed swimming with him. I believe he has a unique ability to understand and develop collegiate swimmers, and he's going to thrive at UC Dan Diego."
Greg Meehan - Paul A. Violich Director of Women's Swimming, Stanford
"David is a great coach and will have an immediate impact on current UCSD swimmers and the San Diego region. I'm super excited to have another coach of David's caliber on the West Coast."