Women’s swimming and diving coach retires

After 37 seasons at SMU, head women’s swimming coach Steve Collins has announced his retirement.

SMU enjoyed much success under Collins’ leadership including 17 conference championships and 35 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championship appearances in 37 years. He guided the team to 15 top-10 finishes with nine of those also being top-5.

“SMU Swimming and Diving owes so much to Steve Collins,” athletic director Rick Hart said. “He has established a championship tradition and culture here on the Hilltop and has shaped the lives of hundreds of student-athletes.”

Of those student athletes, 59 of them combined for 239 All-America honors and 373 individual conference championships. He has coached 11 conference swimmers of the year including Lucrezia Napoletano this past season. This has led to him being named the Coach of the Year 11 times across four different conferences.

“He has been an incredible mentor to all his athletes and coaches here on the Hilltop, including myself,” head men’s swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh said. “Replacing Steve and his passion for SMU, the sport of swimming and our swimming and diving community will be a tall task.”

Nationally, Collins earned the NCAA National Coach of the Year award in 1991 and 1996, the second of which saw his team finish with their highest-ever national ranking at second. In 2021, the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association honored him as one of the 100 Greatest College Swimming & Diving Coaches of the past 100 years.

Coach Steve Collins will retire after nearly 40 years of coaching.
Coach Steve Collins will retire after nearly 40 years of coaching. Photo credit: SMU Athletics

“Steve has been a pillar in the coaching ranks of the SMU Athletics Department since arriving in 1986,” Rhodenbaugh said. “He leaves behind a history and culture of excellence that is unparalleled.”

Internationally, Collins has seen 33 of his athletes swim at the Olympics. He has also coached on the Bulgarian staff for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and served as the head coach of the Slovakian team for the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Photo credit: SMU Athletics.