University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving head coach Tim Welsh, ready to begin his 16th season with the Irish in the fall of 2002, has signed a multi-year contract extension to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish.

“Tim is one of the most respected coaches in the nation and a great mentor for our program,” said Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White.

“He has developed a blend of academic and athletic performance that we, as an athletic department, strive for across the board. Tim also has the team ready to take the next step and compete with the best in the nation.”

Second among current Irish head coaches in tenure at Notre Dame, Welsh’s teams have excelled both in and out of the pool. He helped the 2001-02 Irish team finish fourth in a highly competitive BIG EAST Championship meet and the team was also honored for its academic performance in the classroom. The Irish posted a 3.195 team grade point average last season and finished sixth in the College Swimming Coaches Association academic rankings.

Notre Dame has traditionally done very well in the CSCAA academic competition, finishing first in 1999 and second in 2001. The sixth-place ranking in 2002 marks the fifth consecutive semester the Irish have been in the top 10 of the CSCAA academic list.

Welsh is an active member of the American Swimming Coaches Association and served on its board of directors for six years. He was a speaker at the World Clinic in 1985, ’87, ’91, ’92, ’94, ’95, ’96 and ’97. He completed a three-year stint as the chairman of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming Committee in 1997 and still donates hours of work for the group when needed. The committee is responsible for running NCAA championships and proposing rule changes.

Welsh’s experience and all-around knowledge helped the Irish to a record-setting 1998-99 season in which the team broke 16 of 19 University records, swam three NCAA consideration times and finished second at the BIG EAST Championship. He was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 1999.