Welsh takes over for Barnes
Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Twenty-four hours after Brian Barnes suddenly resigned as head coach of the women’s swimming and diving team, Notre Dame announced Wednesday that former men’s team coach Tim Welsh will run the team on an interim basis.
Barnes, the women’s coach for the past six years, stepped down Tuesday, saying he needs to spend more time with his family. Barnes has two children, Jack, 7, and Caroline, 5, and his wife died two years ago after battling cancer, according to und.com.
His interim replacement, Welsh, retired as head coach of the men’s program at the end of the 2013-2014 season, his 29th year at Notre Dame. He served as head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams in his first 10 seasons with the Irish before switching over to lead only the men.
“In one sense I had been looking forward to stepping away from the day-to-day challenges of coaching, and yet I truly look forward to this assignment,” Welsh said in a press release. “I’ve obviously worked closely with Brian the last half-dozen years, so I have a familiarity with the team. The program has made great strides in recent years, and I hope I can help lead that group to continued success.”
Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said in the press release he is confident Welsh will be able to continue the recent run of success the Irish swimmers have achieved but gave no indication of how long he expected Welsh to stay on as coach or how quickly he would name a permanent replacement.
In his 29 years with the Irish, Welsh took the team to new heights, winning 22 conference titles and setting over 200 program records in total. He coached 45 Big East individual and relay champions and 12 All-Americans.
In his final season, he was honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) with its highest award, the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy. In 1993, he won the Richard E. Steadman Award from the CSCAA, given to a coach on the scholastic, club or collegiate level who has done the most to spread happiness in swimming.
At the time of his retirement, Welsh was the second-longest serving head coach at Notre Dame behind now-retired track and field coach Joe Piane.
The Irish are coming off a season in which they took sixth place in the ACC and 16th place in the NCAA championships, tied for their highest finish in 15 years. Senior Emma Reaney led the squad by capturing the first individual NCAA title in program history and breaking the American record in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Notre Dame’s season begins Oct. 3, with a dual meet against Michigan State.