By James Hemker
Men’s swimming and diving head coach Ted Knapp has stepped down from his position and will be retiring, Athletic Director Bernard Muir announced on Monday. Knapp, who was head coach for the past seven seasons, was a member of the coaching staff for 35 years. Before that, he was a member of the team from 1978-1981.
“I would like to thank Ted for his 39 years of service to our men’s swimming and diving program as a student-athlete, assistant coach, associate head coach and most recently as our Goldman Family Director of Men’s Swimming for the past seven seasons,” Muir wrote in a statement released by the athletic department. “Since his first season as a member of the coaching staff in 1984, Ted has earned a reputation for developing champions not just in the pool, but in life, and has overseen Stanford’s status as one of the highest-performing programs in the nation academically.”
During Knapp’s 35 seasons as a coach, the men’s swimming and diving program has enjoyed a remarkable level of success. Twenty-eight swimmers won 70 individual national titles, the most recent being senior Abrahm DeVine’s NCAA 400 IM title last season. The program has also won seven team NCAA titles (1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998) and 33 conference titles (1984-2012, 2016, 2017).
“I’ve had the extreme pleasure of coaching at Stanford for 35 years,” Knapp said. “During that time, I’ve been surrounded by so much great support within the department and the university. That support, combined with the amazing quality of student-athletes I’ve had the pleasure of coaching, has made this experience a true honor. I especially want to thank my wife, Laurie, who has been through every moment of this journey with me. I couldn’t have had a better partner.
“I also want to thank Skip Kenney for the incredible opportunities and successes he allowed me to share with him over the many years we spent together on the pool deck,” he added. “I am confident that my replacement will possess the experience, passion and focus to successfully lead this program and I plan to assist with the transition however I can.”
After the retirement of legendary head coach Skip Kenney following the 2011-2012 season, Knapp was tabbed for the position. He retires with an overall dual meet record of 36-9 (.800) and two Pac-12 Conference Championships. Under his watch, 10 school records were shattered, and DeVine became the first repeat 400 IM champion for the Cardinal since 1997-98.
Despite the outstanding performance in dual meets, Knapp’s teams were unable to find success at the large postseason meets. After 31 straight conference championships, the team has won just twice in the past seven years. At NCAA’s, Stanford has not seen the podium in seven years, with the school’s best finish (fifth place) coming in the 2016-17 season.
Stanford announced that it will immediately begin the process of identifying Knapp’s replacement.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.