After beginning the 2018-19 season with interim head coach Teel Hartmann, the Marshall swimming and diving team hired former assistant coach Ian Walsh as permanent head coach Oct. 24. Walsh was an assistant coach for the Thundering Herd from 2013- 2016.
“As an assistant, we were able to take a program that was last place my first year and—my third year—we finished 17.5 points out of second place,” Walsh said. “I certainly have the mindset of ‘unfinished business,’ and our staff plans to continue to build upon the success that has been established here.”
During his time at Marshall, Walsh was in charge of the sprinters and middle-distance swimmers and was recruiting coordinator. The teams he assisted broke 28 records. In 2015, Marshall swim and dive was named one of the top-16 most improved teams at the Division I level. In February 2016, the team placed third at the Conference USA championship, the best in program history. That season, the team also had four individual conference champions.
“Familiarity has been the biggest piece that has helped me in this transition,” Walsh said. “I believe having previous working relationships with the administration and support staff has been extremely valuable since my arrival. It has allowed me to be more confident knowing that the support is there for this program and our women on the team.”
From his first time at Marshall, until now, Walsh was assistant coach at the University at Buffalo and University of California, Berkeley. While at Buffalo, he helped coach the Bulls to the highest finish in program history at the Mid-American Conference championship. His teams also had the school’s highest point total in program history with 573. Buffalo had two conference titles, two 1st team all MAC honors and four 2nd team all MAC honors.
While at Berkeley, Walsh aided the Golden Bears in a second place finish at the NCAA Championships, coached four individual national champions and two relay team national champions.
“Those experiences have provided me with the knowledge and poise needed to lead this program,” Walsh said. “I’ve learned a great deal about myself, and that growth has made me a better communicator, coach and leader.”
Before his time at Marshall, he completed his undergraduate degree at Duquesne University, where he swam and broke school records in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. After Duquesne, he earned a master’s degree in business education from Bloomsburg University.
“As I begin this year, I look forward to getting to know our student-athletes and find more young women that believe in this university, athletic program and this team as much as I do,” Walsh said. “My family and I are thrilled to be back and look forward to the future here at Marshall.”
Sydney Shelton can be contacted at [email protected]