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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Busch speaks about Arizona, future”

Last week, the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center waters were shaken when Frank Busch announced his resignation as Arizona’s swimming and diving head coach. After 22 years at Arizona, Busch may be stepping down from his coaching position, but he is ultimately stepping up in the swimming world.

With his resignation, Busch also announced his future career as USA Swimming’s national team director, located in Colorado. He was offered the position on Feb. 2, after being flown out to Colorado Springs. Busch had heard of the job opening in December, but when they asked for a resume, he refused to give one.

“”I honestly had no idea who submitted a resume for the position,”” Busch said. “”Everything was confidential. I heard maybe up to 30 applicants from around the world. I purposely never turned in a resume because I never wanted a committee to see mine. It would be too easy for a committee to talk, and that can only hurt my program. ‘Did you hear that Frank Busch is considering leaving Arizona?’ Well, that gets out to recruits, that gets out to people, and it can just spin like crazy.””

Without even applying for the position, Busch was offered the prestigious title. Perhaps he intrigued them with his secrecy or his dedication to the team. Nevertheless, his decision needed to be quick, and it wasn’t an easy one.

“”I had to weigh the decision. There are pros and cons to everything,”” Busch said. “”I would say the factors were having an opportunity to give back to a sport in a way in which I can affect a lot of people, or do I continue on with my little piece of the pie here? I felt like this opportunity probably would never happen again.””

Therefore, Busch said he accepted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in hopes that this action isn’t perceived as abandonment, but more as a chance to better the swimming world as a whole.

“”It will be comparable to an athletic director for the sport of swimming, so I oversee coaches of all levels, the national team, and our progression on the national team,”” Busch said. “”I’ll be the national team director. My job is to bring great coaches together as a staff and work with them as to what are the best things, opposed to dictating them as to what’s the best thing.””

But while Busch is excited about the move, his team, who he will stay with until May, has 28 freshmen who joined the program with Busch being a part of the package. The team found out merely hours before the rest of the world.

“”It was hard to look at people and know that they came here because of me, which you tell kids all the time, don’t choose a school because of the coach, but you form a relationship and they automatically do it,”” Busch said.

“”For athletes, there’s a cycle. If the coach leaves when you’re a freshman, it’s terrible, a sophomore, still bad, a junior, maybe OK, but a senior, it’s OK because you’re with him the whole time. Incoming freshmen and recruits, their whole world has been turned upside down.””

Busch remembers the atmosphere being filled with mixed emotions, but he wouldn’t have had it any other way — the team is his family.

“”In today’s world it takes just one push of a button to have a lot of people hear a lot of things, a lot of rumors, and I was scared to death my team would hear that,”” Busch said. “”If something was happening in your family, you would want to keep it in your family, and you would want to tell your family when the time was right. I feel the same way. This is a family.””  

The team is now heading into the heart of their season with the Pacific 10 Conference tournament less than a month away and the National Championships shortly after. News like this may be hard to shake off, but Busch is confident in his team.

“”They’ll be very united, maybe even more. I don’t want them saying ‘Let’s do this for Frank.’ That’s not what I’m thinking, and I’m sure that’s not what they’re thinking. They’re thinking about doing it because they’ve worked hard for something.””

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