MIKE LITZINGER, HEAD WOMEN’S SWIMMING COACH
Litzinger, a veteran of 17 seasons as a head coach of men’s and women’s swimming, begins his third year at Notre Dame. In December of 2015 he took the lead role for both programs, marking the first time since 1995 Notre Dame has had a combined swimming program.
In his short tenure, the Irish have broken at total of thirty two Notre Dame Records in two seasons, produced seven NCAA All-Americans, and qualified fourteen women and fifteen men for the NCAA Championships.
The impact of Litzinger’s leadership has been immediately felt on the ACC and NCAA level as the Men have vaulted from seventh to third in the ACC with a final NCAA rank of 19th,capping the most successful campaign in school history. Lead by All-American Trent Jackson (200 Breast) and a pair of Freestyle Relays, Notre Dame once again became a presence at the NCAA Championships.
The Irish Women finished seventh in the league and broke into the NCAA rankings finishing the year in 24th place. All-American Catherine Mulquin (100 Back), saved her best performance for her last swim, clocking a 51.72 in the final eclipsing her own Notre Dame Record. More importantly, the Notre Dame Women are back on the map and have been recognized as one of the most improved teams in the NCAA.
Academically, both squads have been consistently recognized a Academic All-Americans by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Freshmen/NCAA Qualifiers Abbie Dolan, and Erin Sheehan received recognition as individual Academic All Americans, as did Sophomores Alice Treuth, Meaghan O’Donnell and Daniels Spears. Both Notre Dame squad have been recognized by the NCAA for their perfect Graduation Rates, and have produced over 20 ACC All-Academic Team Members.
Litzinger (pronounced LITZ-ing-er) brought 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 was the associate head coach at North Carolina since 2011 after first joining the Tar Heel staff in 2007.
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 that 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.”
JOE SPAHN, ASSISTANT SWIMMING COACH
Joe Spahn enters his third year with the University of Notre Dame as the Assistant Coach and Camp Director.
In Spahn’s first two seasons at Notre Dame, the Irish set 32 school records, produced seven All-Americans, and qualified 29 men and women for the NCAA Championships. The Irish women placed seventh overall at the 2017 ACC Championships and finished the season at No. 24 after the NCAA Championships. The Irish men, meanwhile had the most successful year in school history in 2016-17, improving from seventh to third at the ACC Championships with a final national standing of No. 19.
Prior to being hired at Notre Dame, Spahn worked at the University of Hawai’i Manoa as an assistant coach and the women’s recruiting coordinator. In this role, he served as the travel coordinator and women’s recruiting coordinator, and was the lead coach the middle distance and stroke group. Spahn was instrumental in helping the team win the school’s first women’s conference title (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) since 2006, and merely the second since 1986. Both the men’s and women’s teams continually finished within the top five in the MPSF standings during his tenure.
Before working in Hawaii, Spahn served for one year as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he helped guide the men’s team to a conference title in the MPSF in 2013. Previously, he worked as a volunteer assistant coach at Georgia while he attained his Masters degree. Under his watch, the women’s team won three consecutive SEC championships, and placed second at the NCAA Championship in 2011 and 2012.