John Hargis Named Penn State Head Men's and Women's Swimming Coach
June 23, 2008
University Park, Pa. - Director of Athletics Tim Curley today announced that John Hargis has been named the head coach of Penn State's men's and women's swimming program. A Nittany Lion assistant swimming coach from 2003-06, Hargis is currently the head coach of the women's swimming program at Arkansas-Little Rock as well as the head coach and CEO of the Little Rock Arkansas Dolphins club swimming program.
"We are very excited to announce John's hiring as the next head coach of our swimming programs," said Curley. "John has demonstrated that he has the ability to continue the success of our swimming program both athletically and academically. He has been a swimmer at the highest level, having won an Olympic gold medal, and he also has a large array of experience as a coach, both on the collegiate and the club levels. We are extremely pleased to welcome John and his wife, Lauren and son John, back to Happy Valley and are prepared to help him keep our swimming programs moving forward as he gets started right away during the important July recruiting period."
"We are delighted to have John Hargis return to Penn State as our new head coach of men's and women's swimming," said Susan Delaney-Scheetz, Penn State Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator. "John's knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for swimming and Penn State will enable him to take the program to new heights."
Hargis will become just the second head swimming coach at Penn State since the men's and women's swimming programs were merged into one following the 2000-01 season. He will be just the fourth head women's coach in program history and just the sixth head coach in the history of the men's program.
"I am glad to be back in the blue and white of Penn State and it is exciting to be back in the tradition of excellence that Penn State provides, both athletically and academically," said Hargis. "Both my family and I are excited to once again be part of the Penn State culture and we look forward to continuing the tradition that has been set by those before us in the swimming program."
Hargis left his assistant post at Penn State in September of 2006 to take over the Arkansas Dolphins premier swim club, which was also his former club team. In this role, he directed the program to the overall team state long course title in 2007, winning both the men's and women's team title for only the second time in program history. He also led both the men's and women's teams to the overall team state short course title in 2008, securing the Dolphins their first back-to-back combined state titles in their 48-year history.
He came on board at Arkansas-Little Rock as an assistant coach in November of 2006 before being elevated to head coach in February of 2007. While heading up the Trojan program, which competes in the Sun Belt Conference, the women's team was recognized by the CSCAA for having a team GPA of over 3.0 in both the spring and fall Semesters of 2007.
While with the Nittany Lion program, Hargis was on the staff the helped lead the women's team to back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 2005 and 2006. He coached several NCAA, Olympic Trials and U.S. Nationals qualifiers and also directed all aspects of men¹s recruiting. Hargis was instrumental in helping to recruit 2008 NCAA Champion Pat Schirk to Penn State. He also assisted with several other aspects and day-to-day operations of the program, including the creation and implementation of a training regiment for both the men's and women's sprinters, breaststrokers and IMers.
Prior to coming to Penn State, Hargis was an assistant coach at UNLV for one year in the 2002-03 season, where he also coached NCAA, Olympic and U.S. Nationals qualifiers and guided the Mountain West Conference Male Swimmer of the Year. He was also the head age group coach for the Raleigh Swimming Association club team for one year prior to his stint at UNLV. Before that, he served for three years as an assistant to the athletic director at his alma mater, Auburn University.
A native of Little Rock, Ark., Hargis is a 1999 graduate of Auburn with a degree in Health Promotions/Sport Management. He was part of a national championship team in 1997 and a member of the 200 medley relay team that broke NCAA, U.S. Open and NCAA Meet records in 1997. He was a part of the NCAA champion 400 medley relay team in 1997 as well. A three-time Southeastern Conference champion in the 100 butterfly, he also holds the SEC record in that event and was a 12-time All-American at Auburn. He owns an Olympic Gold Medal, which he earned at the 1996 Atlanta games as part of the U.S. 400 medley relay team. He also won the 100 fly at U.S. Olympic Trials in 1996. He was inducted into the Arkansas State Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001 and was selected as one of Arkansas's 100 Greatest Athletes of all-time.
Hargis will begin his duties at Penn State on July 7, following the U.S. Olympic Trials. A total of 20 Penn State swimmers will be participating at the Olympic Trials, which begin Sunday, June 29 in Omaha, Neb.