UMass women’s swimming and diving coach Bob Newcomb retires after 36 seasons


Published: 7/13/2020 1:05:50 PM

UMass women’s swimming and diving coach Bob Newcomb announced last week that he is retiring after leading the Minutewomen for 36 seasons.

Newcomb coached 42 individual Atlantic 10 champions to go along with five championship relay teams.

“I am very honored to have spent the last 36 years of my life working at the University of Massachusetts and with so many outstanding young women and men,” Newcomb said in a statement. “I can look back and feel humbled that I was given the opportunity to help guide some of the best people this great university had to offer. Watching them grow as students, athletes and people is a never-ending joy I will miss.”

The 1988 and 1989 New England Coach of the Year guided his squad to the Atlantic 10 Championship in 2001 while coaching Becky Hunnewell to back-to-back A-10 Championship Most Outstanding Performer honors in 2001 and 2002. The Minutewomen picked up 16 Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Divers during Newcomb’s tenure while UMass placed 39 student-athletes on the A-10 All-Academic squad.

“We are grateful for Bob’s 36 years of service to UMass and the student-athletes in our swimming and diving program,” Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford said. “Bob’s many lasting contributions to the academic and competitive success of our student-athletes and the countless women he has positively affected through his teaching and coaching is a wonderful legacy. Our sincere thanks to Bob for his service to UMass, and our very best wishes to he and his family for a healthy and enjoyable retirement.”

UMass produced six all-America selections during Newcomb’s tenure, beginning with three-time all-American Michaela Butler in 2013 while Emma Roush earned honorable mention all-America honors in 2017 with Maja Boric being named an all-American on both boards following the 2019-20 season. Newcomb also coached 2007 UMass Hall of Fame inductee Michele Leary, who was a six-time New England individual champion from 1986-1990.

“I want to thank and say how much I will miss all those I have worked with in and around the athletic department who made coming to work everyday fun,” Newcomb said. “I also want to thank Russ Yarworth and Mandy Hixon, who have been long time companions and friends on the deck of Boyden. And lastly, I wanted to thank my family and especially my wife Judi who has been supportive of the job and the many challenges and hours it brought and will now have to get used to seeing me around a lot more. I leave knowing the athletic department is in good hands with the leadership of Ryan Bamford and the future of the Women’s Swimming and Diving program looks bright.”

The swimming and diving program will have a new look entering the 2020-2021 season with the retirements of both Yarworth and Newcomb.

On Wednesday, UMass announced that Sean Clark will be named the Director of Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving while Kirk Scimone will join the programs as the diving coach.

Current women's swimming and diving assistant coach Maiya Otsuka will serve as an assistant for both teams.

Clark was tabbed to take over the swimming and diving programs after serving the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the men's team following eight years as the head coach at Binghamton. The UMass alumnus spent eight years on the UMass staff in three stops and was part of coaching staffs that won five Atlantic 10 Conference championships. In his most recent run as an assistant in Amherst, Clark helped 20 swimmers to top-10 program-best times across 46 events and coached members of the team to 113 lifetime bests at the league meet over the last three seasons.

Scimone joins UMass following four years as a coach with WFLA Diving out of Largo, Florida, where he coached four AAU National Champions and four Florida State High School Champions. The 2007 UMass graduate also coached GC Divers in Southlake, Texas, from 2008-14 and helped guide the women's team to a 2013 USA Diving Junior National Championship. The GC Divers also claimed three overall USA Diving Spring Junior West Championships while the men's team claimed the Speedo Junior National Championship in 2009 and 2010.

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