April 17, 2015
Mike Litzinger, a veteran of 14 seasons as a head coach in men’s and women’s swimming and diving and a key member of the University of North Carolina men’s and women’s swimming staff the last eight years, has been named head women’s swimming and diving coach at the University of Notre Dame, it was announced Friday evening.
Litzinger (pronounced LITZ-ing-er) brings with him to South Bend the experience of seven years as head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs at the University of Utah (2000-07) and seven more as head women’s coach at St. Bonaventure University (1989-1996). He has been the associate head coach at North Carolina since 2011 after first joining the Tar Heel staff in 2007.
Most recently, Litzinger was named in September 2014 to the list of U.S. National Team coaches after mentoring Tar Heel butterflier Ben Colley to a spot on the national team last summer.
“Mike’s vast experience as a head coach and most recent experience as associate head coach at a very successful North Carolina program were key factors in the decision to hire him,” said Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick. “His passion and drive embody the Notre Dame spirit and represent what we need to propel the program forward.”
“I am truly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead the University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving program. My wife Julie, our daughters and I are thrilled to be a part of this great institution and what it stands for.
“I have great appreciation for Jack Swarbrick’s vision of Notre Dame’s place in the ever-changing landscape of college athletics. Notre Dame is a place already steeped in tradition and excellence, and we will bring a roll-up-our-sleeves attitude as we live out the past successes of the program while carrying on into the future. It is up to me to provide leadership, direction and spirit as we pursue ACC Championships and elite-level finishes at the NCAA Championships.”
Litzinger’s eight-year women’s resume with the Tar Heels featured a 57-17 dual meet mark (.770), seven runner-up finishes in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and top 19 finishes in the NCAA Championships each of the last four seasons–including a best of 12th in 2012-13. During his tenure the Tar Heels produced 33 individual All-Americans and 13 relay units that claimed All-America status.
On the men’s side during those same eight seasons beginning in 2007-08, the Tar Heels finished 56-15 (.788) in dual meets, ended up second three times and third four times in the ACC Championships and enjoyed top-15 finishes in the NCAA Championships three straight years from 2010-12, the first time since 1956-58 North Carolina had done that in men’s swimming & diving. Litzinger assisted in producing 34 individual North Carolina men’s All-Americans and 13 relay squads that garnered All-America honors.
All 15 North Carolina individual men’s and women’s school records have been set since 2010, and all five relay marks for both men and women have been set in the last three seasons (established in the last two years by the women).
North Carolina in 2012-13 had the ACC men’s and women’s swimmers of the year in the same season for the first time since 1996. From 2007-08 through 2010-11, both teams finished second in the ACC for four straight years.
Litzinger has been involved in all aspects of the North Carolina program with his primary responsibilities coaching the middle-distance group and heading up Carolina’s recruiting efforts. He is known as an innovative coach, a possessor of outstanding on-deck coaching techniques and a superior evaluator of talent.
In seven seasons in Salt Lake City, Litzinger built the Utah men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams into two of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference and the nation. During his last year in Salt Lake City in 2006-07, the Utes had a particularly memorable season as the women went undefeated in dual meets at 10-0, upping their mark over three seasons to an impressive 28-1. Utah previously won three successive women’s Mountain West championships in a row from 2004-06. He won MWC women’s coach of the year honors in 2002 and 2006.
Overall, in Litzinger’s seven years, the Utes broke 35 school records, qualified eight athletes in 23 different events for the NCAA Championships and had 14 swimmers qualify for U.S. Nationals. Both programs garnered All-Academic status from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
Litzinger’s accolades include Eastern Intercollegiate coach-of-the-year awards in 1992 and 1994 and Atlantic Ten Conference coach-of-the-year honors in 1996 and 1997 while serving as the head coach at St. Bonaventure.
After leaving St. Bonaventure and before going to Utah, Litzinger was the assistant men’s coach at Ohio State from 1996-2000. While there, he helped lead the Buckeyes to two top-25 NCAA finishes.
As the St. Bonaventure women’s coach Litzinger led the Bonnies to an ECAC title and two Atlantic Ten championships.
He began his coaching career at Fredonia State University in New York in 1988-89. While at Fredonia State, Litzinger took the Blue Devils to a second-place SUNYAC Conference finish.
A 1984 graduate of Hobart College in Geneva, New York, Litzinger received his bachelor’s degree in English and was captain of the Hobart swimming team in 1983-84. The same year he was voted the program’s most valuable swimmer. In 1988, he received his master’s degree in physical education from the University of Iowa. While working on his master’s degree, Litzinger was the Hawkeyes’ graduate assistant men’s swimming coach.
The New York native and his wife Julie have two daughters–Gabrielle and Grace.