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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Byrne tabs Hansen

When Arizona’s swimming and diving head coach Frank Busch announced his resignation in February, people were left wondering who would replace the coaching legend.

Yesterday, the question was finally answered when Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced Eric Hansen as Arizona’s future head coach. So far, the reaction from the swimmers has been positive.

“”I’m excited for it,”” said captain Cory Chitwood. “”We’ve been waiting to find out who our coach is going to be since February. It’s nice to finally be out of that limbo stage where you don’t know what you’re going to get, you’re sort of just waiting.””

Hansen, who has been the University of Wisconsin’s swimming and diving head coach for the past 12 seasons, will leave his position to take over the program Busch spent the last 22 years turning into a national powerhouse.

Hansen and Busch have some history with each other.

Hansen received his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Arizona in 1990, and during that time, he swam for Busch.

“”I’m extremely excited to return back to the Arizona program in which I earned a degree and swam for under coach Busch,”” said Hansen. “”I look forward to the opportunity to continue the success the program has achieved.””

Along with Busch being one of his past coaches, Busch was also one of his past colleagues. From 1996 to 1999, Hansen was an assistant coach for Arizona.

Throughout his coaching role in Tucson, he coached six national champions, 11 All-Americans and numerous Pacific 10 Conference champions.

With favorable past experience at Arizona and years as a head coach under his belt, Byrne is confident with his decision to name Hansen as Busch’s successor.

“”We’re thrilled to have Eric as our new swimming and diving head coach and we trust our program will be able to continue its dominance under his direction,”” Byrne said.

Hansen, a U.S. National Team head coach and former Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, brought Wisconsin’s program onto the map. His women’s team has nationally finished in the top-20 on 10 separate occasions.

Amidst those top finishes, there was an 11th-place finish and the University of Wisconsin’s first individual national champion at this year’s NCAA championships in Austin, Texas. Hansen also coached a two-time All-American this year.

This summer, some Arizona swimmers will get a feel for Hansen’s coaching style.

As a part of the U.S. National Team program, Hansen will be the head coach for the American team at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China. 

Five Wildcats were chosen for the team in Shenzhen, including national champion Chitwood, and school-record holders Alyssa Anderson and Adam Small.

Like the rest of the swimming world, Chitwood found out the identity of his new coach on Monday. He doesn’t personally know Hansen but certainly knows of him.

“”I’ve seen him around on pool deck,”” Chitwood said. “”I’ve never really met him personally, but I’m excited to have him here.

“”He was a Wildcat swimmer back in his day. I knew he coached here for a little bit, and then got the head-coaching job in Wisconsin, and he’s done some good things out there. We’re excited for all the potential he brings to our program.””

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