Arizona State hires Bob Bowman as men's, women's swim coach
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Bob Bowman, the longtime coach of 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, is taking charge of Arizona State's men's and women's swimming programs.
He returns to the college ranks for the first time since 2008, when he guided Michigan's swimming teams. He then returned to North Baltimore Aquatic Club after coaching Phelps to a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
''To some people this may be somewhat of a surprise and in many ways I might be the most surprised,'' he said Friday at a campus news conference.
Phelps is expected to follow Bowman to the desert to train for the 2016 Rio Games, just like he did after Bowman moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
''I look forward to bringing other outstanding athletes and students into this school to help us build the program we really want to have here,'' said Bowman, who plans to be in place by August.
Bowman replaces Dorsey Tierney-Walker, who was fired March 31 after six seasons by athletic director Ray Anderson. It's the second high-profile hire by Anderson, who recently brought Bobby Hurley in as coach of the men's basketball team.
Bowman visited the Tempe campus last week when he and Phelps were in the area for a meet in Mesa.
''When I looked seriously at the potential of this program and this university, it's clear that this can be such a great story not just for the program here or for ASU but for collegiate swimming and collegiate Olympic sports,'' he said. ''It could be a model for others to follow.''
Bowman has his work cut out in turning around ASU's programs.
The women swimmers finished 34th at the most recent NCAA championships, while the men's team failed to score a point. Neither team has ever finished higher than sixth.
The school dropped the men's program in 2008 for financial reasons but boosters stepped in with money to save the team.
ASU has invested over $1 million in upgrades at the campus pool.
Bowman has been CEO and head coach at NABC, where he first worked from 1995-2004.
Bowman is a six-time USA Swimming Coach of the Year. He was head coach of the U.S. teams at the 2007, 2009 and 2013 world championships and has served on every major U.S. national team staff since 2001, including at the last three Olympics.
Bowman was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008 at Michigan.
Swimmers coached by Bowman have set 43 world records.
AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.