The longest-tenured coach at Boston College will be stepping down at the end of the year.
Men’s and women’s swimming coach Tom Groden will resign effective Dec. 31, Groden confirmed to The Heights on Thursday evening. Associate head coach Michael Stephens will take his place. Members of the team were informed of Groden’s departure via an email obtained by The Heights from Director of Athletics Brad Bates.
“We appreciate all of Tom’s years of valuable service to the swimming and diving program,” Bates said in a statement on Friday afternoon. “He has built a program that represents the core values of Boston College and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Groden has coached the Eagles for 45 years after starting the program in 1972. He has amassed a career record of 785-391-7 through the teams’ meet with Williams College on Dec. 3. Groden was the first coach to surpass 300 wins as a coach of the men’s and women’s team at the same institution. He is also the NCAA’s active wins leader, and holds the record for most wins at a single institution by a collegiate swim coach. Groden has accomplished this despite having the only non-scholarship program among Power Five Conference schools.
Stephens has been with the program since July 2013, beginning as Groden’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He was promoted to associate head coach in January 2016. He graduated from BC in 2012, after spending four years under Groden. Stephens specialized in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, and 200 meter medley relay—Stephens is in the top 10 all-time at BC in all three events.
BC swimming has not been without controversy in 2016. In April, Groden told The Heights that he had been told that his program would be cut in the next few years. He based this claim in part on the specifications of the new athletics facilities that will replace the Flynn Recreation Complex, which Groden says are not suitable for competition for a varsity sport. The new plans include an eight-lane, 25-yard pool. It does not, however, have specifications for a separate diving well, nor will the ceilings be high enough for a 3-meter diving board. Groden believes BC will have trouble recruiting and will be discouraged from hosting meets. In a similar article a month later, The Boston Globe reported that people close to Groden say he was reprimanded for speaking with The Heights.
Sports editor Riley Overend contributed reporting to this article.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor