BY RYAN A. PODGES
Daily Sports Writer
Published April 14, 2008
Posted April 17, 2008
Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin has another coaching vacancy to fill. Bob Bowman announced today that he will step down as head coach of Michigan men's swimming and diving team and Club Wolverine after the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. June 29-July 6th. Bowman informed the team of his decision during a meeting this afternoon.
"This is a professional business opportunity that I felt I needed to pursue," Bowman said through the Athletic Department. "It has been a privilege and honor for me to coach at the University of Michigan, and my four years here have been extremely meaningful. I have enjoyed working with the student-athletes and representing the University, and I plan to continue a close relationship with (Michigan) for a long time to come."
Bowman will not be speaking to the media today, but a press conference will be set tomorrow. Questions are already being raised about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps's future in Ann Arbor. Phelps and several other Olympians followed Bowman from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club to Michigan when Bowman became the Wolverines head coach after the 2004 summer Olympics. It is unclear whether these athletes will remain training with Club Wolverine or leave for other programs.
Bowman finished his fourth season as Michigan head coach at the NCAA swimming and diving championships last month. The Wolverines finished in sixth place at the meet and were this season's Big Ten Champions. In his four seasons, Bowman compiled a 30-8-1 record in dual meets, including 21-1-1 against Big Ten opponents. In 2007 and 2008 Bowman was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and he mentored three swimmers to six NCAA individual titles.
There was no indication that Bowman was planning his departure, so his decision to leave came as a surprise to many.
"I was pretty shocked," junior Matt Patton said. "It hits pretty close to home because I'm going to be a senior next year and it's pretty disappointing that he won't be on the pool deck with my class next year."
While many team members feel disheartened by the news, many remain confident that Michigan will remain one of the most dominant swimming programs in the country.
"I don't think it will have any impact on the team," Patton said. "We are a pretty strong team and Michigan is a great program and I know we're going to get a good coach no matter what."