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Sergio Lopez Named West Virginia University Head Coach -- April 29, 2004

MORGANTOWN, W.Va, April 28. WEST Virginia University athletic director Ed Pastilong announced the hiring of Sergio Lopez as the head coach for the men's and women's swimming and diving squads.

Lopez, a native of Barcelona, Spain, and a 1988 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m breast, comes to WVU from Northwestern where he spent last season as the Wildcat associate head coach and served as an NU assistant coach from 2000-03.

"Sergio is an excellent coach with an extensive knowledge of the sport," Pastilong says. "He has an elite background and his international and Olympic experience will make him a great coach at West Virginia University. He is an excellent fit for our athletic department."

A nine-time All-American in the breast, 500 free and individual medley at Indiana and American, Lopez coached the Northwestern stroke group and was the team's recruiting coordinator, designed and implemented the Wildcats' workouts, weight training and dry-land programs and was in charge of the team's fund-raising.

During his tenure, Lopez and the Wildcats produced seven All-Americans, eight Big Ten champions, eight Big Ten championship meet records, a Big Ten swimmer of the year and a Big Ten freshman of the year. Under Lopez's guidance 43 of the school's 56 records were broken over the past four seasons.

Since 2002, Lopez has also been the head coach of Wildcat Aquatics and Northwestern's Aquatic Swimming Association - the school's booster clubs.

Lopez arrived in Evanston, Ill., after a three year stint as head coach at Hillenbrand Aquatics in Tucson, Ariz., from 1997-2000 where his responsibilities included coaching the senior national training group.

From 1996-97, Lopez was the technical director at the Cantabric Swimming Federation in Santander, Spain. In 1995-96, he served as a volunteer coach at Arizona and in 1994-95 he was also a volunteer coach at the Honved Swim Club in Budapest, Hungary.

Lopez, a member of the Spanish national team from 1984-96, earned a bachelor's degree in independent studies in kinesiology from American in 1992 and garnered his national coach's title from the Spanish Swimming Coaches Association in 1995.

During his swimming career, Lopez won a silver medal in the 1993 world championships in the 400 IM, has held European and U.S. Open records in the 200 breast and has held or currently holds 14 records in Spain, two at Indiana and eight at American.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to coach at West Virginia University," Lopez says. "I think WVU has a lot to offer and my goal is to get WVU in the top 20 in the country in the next three to four years. I also want to establish the program in the BIG EAST and win the conference in the next four to five years. Those are all attainable goals."

Lopez is married to the former Sandy Carlos and they have two children, Harley (5) and Cobi (3).