May 16, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head coach Jim Richardson announced Wednesday (May 16) his retirement after 27 seasons at the helm of the women's swimming program. The fourth coach in the history of the program, Richardson will remain with the Wolverines through June 30.
"It has been a privilege and honor to serve as the women's swimming coach at the University of Michigan," said Richardson. "Michigan is truly one of the great institutions in the world and to be a part of the development of young women has been my sole purpose. Stefanie Kerska has been the best assistant coach that any coach could ever hope for. Twice in the past year she took over the role of head coach, and has proven she is one of the best assistants in the country. It was a special relationship for 26 years that Stefanie and I had, and I look forward to maintaining that long into the future. To be able to work with Jon Urbanchek, Bob Bowman, Mike Bottom, Fernando Canales and all of the wonderful staff at Michigan has been a great joy. I am looking forward to what God has planned for me in this next stage of life. I will always be a fan and supporter of Michigan Athletics."
"We are grateful for the passion, enthusiasm and dedication that Jim has provided to our women's swimming program over the past 27 years," said Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "Jim worked hard to mold our young women into some of the finest swimmers in the conference and in the nation. He placed an even higher emphasis on academics and made sure that his swimmers were prepared for the life that followed after competition. We thank Jim for his dedicated service and wish him the very best in his well-deserved retirement."
Richardson led the Wolverines to 14 Big Ten championships during his 27 seasons, including a record-setting 12 consecutive crowns from 1987-98. The 12 straight conference titles are a Big Ten record among women's sports teams. He also added league championships in 2001 and 2004. Richardson had student-athletes earn 168 Big Ten individual titles.
At the national level, Richardson's teams placed in the top 10 during 14 of his 27 seasons, including a second-place finish at the 1995 NCAA Championships. Richardson had five individual national champions and one relay win a title during his tenure. In fact, the school's first NCAA champion, Ann Colloton, was named the Michigan Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s. He mentored 162 NCAA All-Americans and an additional 223 honorable mention All-Americans.
Richardson was an ardent believer in the success of the student-athlete. He had 141 swimmers earn Academic All-Big Ten honors and 62 student-athletes received College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) All-Academic or honorable mention honors. Richardson's teams earned CSCAA national all-academic recognition every season from 1992-2012; every season that it has been awarded. Individually, athletes Kim Johnson and Mindy Gehrs won the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor and seven of Richardson's athletes received NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships: Johnson, Gehrs, Alecia Humphrey, Anne Kampfe, Rachel Gustin, Jen Crisman and Margaret Kelly.
His coaching achievements coupled with the respect of his peers have earned Richardson various national honors. He was named the 1993 and 1995 NCAA Coach of the Year and is a six-time honoree as the Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year. Richardson also served as an assistant coach for the United State in the 1993, 1995 and 1999 World University Games.
Richardson had 45 swimmers compete at the Olympic Trails during his tenure.
He compiled a 175-77 overall record (.694) during his career, including a 114-25 mark (.820) in conference dual meets. Richardson's squads won 33 straight dual meets from 1987 to midway through the 1990 season. He led his teams to undefeated seasons in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1994.
Richardson arrived in Ann Arbor in 1985 after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa.
He received his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University in 1971 and attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Richardson is a member of the United States Swimming and the American Swimming Coaches Association. He previously served on the Board of Directors as President of the CSCAA and was a member of the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Committee. He authored two bylaws that are currently in the NCAA manual.
Richardson resides in Ann Arbor with his wife, Mary Sue. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Michigan will begin a national search for Richardson's successor immediately.