Swimming and Diving Head Men's Swimming Coach
Matt Tallman enters his 15th season at Notre Dame, and second as men’s swimming and diving head coach in 2015-16. Tallman spent his first five campaigns serving as assistant coach for the Fighting Irish before assuming the role of associate head coach in July 2006, a position he held for eight seasons until the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.
Tallman became just the third head coach in the 56-year history of the Notre Dame men’s swimming program in July 2014, joining legendary Fighting Irish mentors Dennis Stark (1958-1985) and Tim Welsh (1985-2014) as the other coaches to have served in the role.
Tallman arrived at Notre Dame in 2001, shortly after the Notre Dame Athletic Department announced that each of the University’s 26 varsity sports would receive full funding. With increased scholarship aide, he has made the Irish competitive with the top programs in the nation on the recruiting front by attracting some of the country’s top prep prospects.
His recruiting efforts have produced some of the top classes in the history of the program – including the 14th-best incoming class in 2009-10, 12th-best in 2010-11 and 25th-best in 2011-12, which in turn has made Notre Dame a factor on the national scene. His most recent class was ranked ninth on Swimswam.com in the summer of 2015.
The efforts of Tallman have also paid dividends in the pool, as the Irish have broken more than 140 University records over the last 14 years. Tallman was named the 2013 College Swimming.com Rising Assistant Coach of the Year after being named an honorable mention finalist in 2012. He has mentored 60 total swimmers who won BIG EAST individual and relay championships and all 14 individual Irish record holders, including two-time All-American Frank Dyer and Bill Bass, the second and third all-time Notre Dame men’s swimming NCAA Championship qualifiers.
Dyer’s fourth-place finish in the 200 free at the 2012 NCAA Championships earned him the distinction of being the first men’s swimming All-American in school history.
Another of Tallman’s charges, 2005 NCAA Championship participant Tim Kegelman, was the first Notre Dame swimmer to make an appearance at the national meet, swimming the 100 fly, 200 fly and 200 IM.
Tallman helped guide the Irish to their first BIG EAST championship in 2005, and the Irish repeated as champions in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013. The stretch was the most successful in the history of Notre Dame swimming and diving.
Notre Dame closed out its final BIG EAST Championship appearance in 2013 by scoring a meet record 991 points on its way to a sixth and final league crown. Nine Irish swimmers, Frank Dyer, Chris Johnson, Bill Bass, Kevin Hughes, John McGinley, Zach Stephens, John Williamson, Cameron Miller and Bogac Ayhan all qualified for the NCAA Championships, a remarkable feat considering in the first 54 years of the program, only five swimmers (making seven total appearances) has qualified for the NCAA meet.
The 2012 Notre Dame squad set nine school records and sent two swimmers to the NCAA Championships for the first time in the same season. Nine of the team’s upperclassmen (sophomores and above) set personal-bests in at least one event during the campaign, with six athletes setting fastest marks in multiple strokes. The Irish won seven events at the 2012 BIG EAST Championships, scoring 887 points to edge Louisville for the conference’s top crown. The 887 points scored were the second-most for Notre Dame at the BIG EAST meet in program history (902.5 points-2005).
The 2008 BIG EAST champion Irish program set eight then-school records and peaked at No. 17 in the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) rankings.
In 2005-06, the Irish climbed to No. 18 in the rankings for what was then a program-best mark. Notre Dame appeared in the CSCAA dual meet rankings for the first time ever in the fall of 2004, debuting at No. 21.
The 2003-04 campaign featured the Irish posting their highest-ever point total in the BIG EAST Championships to that point (584) en route to their first runner-up result in four years. Among the high points of the meet was Notre Dame’s first-ever 1-2 finish at the conference meet, which took place in the 400 IM.
Tallman was also instrumental in preparing and presenting a proposal to the NCAA to institute a new selection process for the Division I Swimming Championships. Thanks to Tallman’s efforts, the NCAA Championship Cabinet approved the new process, which took effect at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
Prior to his stint at Notre Dame, Tallman served as an assistant at the University of Maryland in 2000-01. He helped the Terrapins send a school-record number of women’s qualifiers to the NCAA Championships as Maryland peaked at 16th in the national rankings that season, its highest listing in school history.
Prior to his stop at Maryland, Tallman spent two years as the head swimming coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While at IUP, he was selected as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1999 after helping the women’s team to the PSAC title, ending Clarion University’s 23-year stranglehold on the championship. He also led the IUP women’s team to sixth- and seventh-place finishes at the NCAA Division II championships. In his two seasons at IUP, the women’s squad was 18-0 in dual meets.
Fifteen IUP swimmers achieved All-America honors under Tallman’s tutelage while 18 swimmers earned all-PSAC accolades and five student-athletes were named Academic All-Americans.
A 1997 graduate of The Catholic University of America, Tallman swam for four seasons and captured 11 titles at the Capital Athletic Conference Championships. He set school and conference records in the 100 and 200 breast, along with the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Originally from Lindenwold, N.J., Tallman has a number of Notre Dame connections. His father Dennis is a `73 graduate and his grandfather, Edgar F. Bailey, played football for the Irish in the 1940s.
Tallman married the former Heather Grzeskowiak in the summer of 2006. The couple, along with daughter Hannah, and son, Martin, resides in Mishawaka, Ind.