April 11, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - Eric Hansen, a U.S. National Team head coach and Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year, has been chosen to take over as head coach of the University of Arizona Swimming and Diving program, announced today by Arizona director of athletics Greg Byrne.
The hiring is subject to approval by the Arizona Board of Regents. A press conference will be held tomorrow, April 12, in McKale Center Room 109C at 2:30 p.m.
Hansen, who leaves the University of Wisconsin after 12 seasons, succeeds former head coach Frank Busch who was recently named as USA Swimming's National Team Director.
"I'm extremely excited to return back to the Arizona program in which I earned a degree and swam for under Coach Busch," said Hansen. "I look forward to the opportunity to continue the success the program has achieved."
While at Wisconsin, Hansen transformed the program into a perennial contender with his women's team finishing among the top-20 on 10 separate occasions at the NCAA Championships, including an 11th place finish and UW's first individual national champion at this year's championships in Austin, Texas. Hansen revitalized the men's program during his time at Wisconsin including mentoring a two-time All-American in 2011.
"We're thrilled to have Eric as our new swimming and diving head coach and we trust our program will be able to continue its dominance under his direction," said Byrne.
Hansen's coaching can be measured on a national scale with 56 of his student-athletes (36 women, 20 men) earning a total of 289 All-America citations during his tenure at UW. On the international scene, Hansen has coached two Olympic athletes in gold medalist Carly Piper and Adam Mania.
In 2006, Hansen led the Wisconsin women's team to its highest-ever finish at the NCAA Championships with a ninth-place showing. One year earlier, he helped swimmers Piper and Tim Liebhold to a pair of national titles with Piper winning the 400-meter freestyle at World Championship Trials and Liebhold capturing the 200-meter I.M. at the U.S. Championships
Guiding Piper to a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2004 for the games in Athens, Greece, she went on to earn a gold medal as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay team that broke a 17 year-old record in the event.
During the 2002-03 season, he guided the Badger women's team to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and was named as the conference's Coach of the Year.
Hansen served as an assistant under Busch at UA previously from 1996-99 and coached six national champions, 11 All-Americans and numerous Pac-10 champions during his time in Tucson.
Heavily involved in the U.S. National Team program, Hansen will serve as the head coach for the American team at the World University Games this summer in Shenzhen, China. The Wildcats will have five swimmers in Shenzhen this summer including national champion Cory Chitwood and school-record holders Alyssa Anderson and Adam Small.
Other national team coaching experience on Hansen's resume includes serving as a head coach in 2006 for the World Short Course Championships in Shanghai, as a men's assistant for the Pan Pacific Championships in Victoria, British Columbia.
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Hansen served as the head coach of the Phoenix Swim Club from 1992-95, coaching two world record holders, four American record holders and five members of the U.S. national team.
A member of the U.S. National Team from 1987 to 1992, Hansen captained the U.S. team at the 1991 World University Games. Swimming for then-Hillenbrand Aquatics (now Ford Aquatics), he won a national championship in the 100 backstroke in 1990.
Collegiately, Hansen was a six-time All-American at Iowa State and was named Big 8 Conference swimmer of the year in 1987 and 1988. Additionally, he was Iowa State's athlete of the year in 1988.
Hansen graduated from Iowa State in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and received a master's degree in exercise physiology from Arizona in 1990.