Hiring a Coach


Some CCS clubs have hired coaches and some have officers who act as coaches during practices. CCS doesn’t require your club to have a coach. Unless it’s required by your school, it’s up to your board to decide each year whether or not you’d like to have or keep a coach. The advertising, interviewing, and hiring process is managed by your board.


Some advantages to hiring a coach include that the coach could:

•       Have more time to dedicate to big-picture goals and season planning.

•       Help legitimize new clubs in the eyes of the school.

•       Be more likely to observe swimmers during practice and give them advice on technique than a student coach. Vice versa, a club member could be more likely to seek out technique or other helpful advice from a paid professional coach than from a student coach.

•       Bring more swimming and coaching experience as well as a different perspective to the table.

•       Offer a form of accountability to swimmers. The coach is there specifically to better the athletes and help them achieve their goals at practices and meets.

•       Take a mentorship or leadership role within the club.


•       The extra expense to the club’s overall budget.

•       That it takes away a potential leadership position from student club members Club members may have prior coaching experience.

•       The coach’s ideas, objectives, or agenda could conflict with the student officer board.

What your coach needs to know from you

•       The club is not a varsity program. It’s a different mentality and commitment level.

•       That most CCS teams pride themselves on being primarily student-run, and the coach is ultimately second to the board.

•       The coach can be as involved or uninvolved with the officer board as the board sees fit.

Responsibilities and expectations of the coach

•       Write, attend, actively coach and supervise all scheduled practices.

•       Prepare for, attend, and actively coach all meets and meet-related activities.

•       Attend all team fundraising activities.

•       Honor and promote team traditions and spirit.

•       Demonstrate, teach, and encourage good technique and sportsmanship.

•       Communicate with swimmers, officers, parents, prospective swimmers, and opposing team representatives in a productive and professional manner.

•       Have an open and communicative relationship with all elected student officers, offering assistance when necessary and appropriate.

•       Utilize the club president as the primary point of contact for all club matters.

•       Handle disciplinary or behavioral matters responsibly and professionally, deferring ultimate judgment to elected officers and the university’s club sports administration.

•       Assume full responsibility for the team and its actions during all travel trips.

•       Qualifications: know what is required by the school and/or the practice facility as some of these qualifications may not be necessary. You can also choose to include any extra coaching certifications, such as USA Swimming, USMS, YMCA, etc.

»      Maintain current First-Aid, CPR, AED, and lifeguard certifications.

»      Background in competitive swimming.

»      Minimum [x] years of swim coaching experience.

»      Previous head coaching experience is preferred.

Hiring Process

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, coaches should be hired or contacted about rehiring at the conclusion of the competition season (around April) so the board will have adequate time during the summer to start the process. Inform the department that oversees club sports about the staffing changes so the job can be posted on the university job boards.

Advertising and Posting

The president or designated officer should consider publicly posting the job in other places such as Craigslist, USA Swimming job board, American Swimming Coaches Association, SwimSwam job board, USMS Discussion Forums, and Facebook. Previous  coaches, alumni, and your local swimming community can help get the word out.

Include board officer contact information, as well as someone from the college’s department that oversees club sports, preferably the club supervisor.

Be upfront about compensation and the long hours. Many coaches do this for the love of the sport and not the money, but it should be taken into account that the coach selected might need to relocate for the position.


Important: Be confident! The candidates might be older, but you are hiring them. Here’s a quick checklist to help your officer board with a basic hiring process.

•       Set an application deadline for submission of résumés and references.

•       Review all applicants’ résumés and discuss pros and cons of each.

•       Designate an interview committee consisting of four to five officers and members—a diverse group of people to adequately represent the whole team. For example, president, finance, men’s and women’s captains, etc. Retiring officers can be helpful as they’ve previous board and club experience.

•       Depending on how many applicants you’re interested in, consider several rounds of interviews with phone screening, Skype, and in-person interviews.

•       For the in-person interviews, try to have it narrowed down to three or four candidates.

•       All officers should discuss what they want in a coach and come up with a list of questions to ask.

•       Set up interviews with the committee, which can be held in a conference room at your facility so the applicants can tour the facility afterward.

•       Interviews can be held from mid-June to early July.

•       Everyone should take notes during the interviews for later discussion.

•       Question anything that isn’t clear and ask for more information if needed.

•       After the interviews, the committee should discuss the pros and cons of each candidate. All other officers will then be informed of what the interview committee thinks and a discussion about which candidate would best fulfill the position should occur.

•       This should take place mid- to late July.

•       Once the officer board agrees on a candidate, the president should call and offer the candidate the job.

•       If the candidate declines, take it back to the officer board and review the remaining applicants again.