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ND WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Weathers resigns as head coach

Mike Tennant | Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Head women’s swimming coach Bailey Weathers resigned Tuesday, leaving the Irish program after 10 winning seasons and nine straight Big East titles.In a press release issued Tuesday by the Notre Dame Sports Information Department, Weathers cited both his and the University’s need for a change. “We’ve had a nice run for the last decade, and now I think it’s time for something new, both for me and for the program,” Weathers said in the release. “I’m ready for a different challenge and I think the timing is right for someone new to come in and see where they can take women’s swimming at Notre Dame.”The team learned of the decision Tuesday afternoon in a meeting with two athletic directors, Irish swimmer Katie Carroll said, and many swimmers left with mixed feelings.”I think the team was shocked that it came right now,” Carroll said. Weathers would not comment further on the reasoning behind his decision when contacted by The Observer Tuesday night. However, several swimmers had their own opinions on the matter.”The morale hadn’t been what it was in the past, and I think the athletic directors noticed that,” Carroll said. Sophomore Jess Stephens echoed Carroll’s thoughts on the team’s morale this year.”If this is what’s best for the team as a whole then this is what needs to happen,” Stephens said.While the announcement came as a shock to some, some swimmers acknowledged hearing rumors about Weathers’ fate with the University.”We kind of saw it coming,” senior Georgia Healey said. “Bailey had mentioned something about it, and there were rumors about it, but no one was completely sure.””I think he needed something different in his life to inspire him,” Healey added. “I think he was under a lot of pressure, and the 24th place [finish in this year’s NCAA Championships] wasn’t really cutting it.”One of the things [Athletic Director] Kevin White said to us as freshmen was that he wanted all of our teams to be No. 1.”During his tenure, Weathers led the Irish to an 86-20 dual meet record and was named Big East Conference coach of the year six times. Notre Dame also scored points in the NCAA Championship meet every year Weathers was at the helm.Weathers had previously coached two seasons at Southern Illinois and three at South Carolina. While with the Gamecocks, Weathers was a three-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year.But Notre Dame will always be special to the coach.”I really enjoyed ND a lot, I really loved the kids I had an opportunity to coach,” Weathers said Tuesday night. “I look forward to watching them do well in the future.”For now, the Irish are looking ahead, and seem optimistic about the future.”I think that people definitely are looking forward to a change to bring some new life and change to the team,” Healey said.There is no word yet as to a replacement for Weathers, but in some eyes he mightnot ever be replaced.”I know that we [the team] wish him well. We only hope for the best for him, and we know that’s what he wants for us,” Carroll said.