Courtesy of: Michigan Photography
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ANN ARBOR, Michigan, June 12. IT took a bit of convincing from the legendary Denny Hill, but Ann Arbor Pioneer alum Stefanie Kerska has been hired as the head coach of the Ann Arbor Pioneer boys swim team.
Hill, who announced his retirement in March after more than 40 years coaching at Pioneer had one person in mind when he thought about who could take over the reins of one of the more notable high school programs in the country, and that was his former swimmer Kerska.
Kerska had been an assistant coach with the University of Michigan up through 2012 before resigning to spend time with her family. It took a phone call from Hill to ask her to apply, with the promise to support the hire, before Kerska made the decision to give it a go.
"I heard that Denny was stepping down, and a week later he called me," Kerska told Mlive.com. "He told me he was hoping to recommend me for the job. It wasn't something I was even considering before I heard from him. It was a pretty long conversation. He talked about how fast each swimmer was, where each one could improve and things started clicking for me."
The two-time state champion at Pioneer, who went on to become a four-time All-American and a seven-time Big Ten champion during her time as a Michigan Wolverine, has some big shoes to fill. Hill coached the boys team to 15 state championships and 16 second-place finishes. He also led the Pioneer girls to 16 state titles during his stewardship from 1973-2010. He resigned as the girls head coach four years ago to focus on the boys squad up through his retirement.
Under Hill's direction, Ann Arbor Pioneer's women's team won the Swimming World Magazine national girls team of the year title in 2005 and 2006. One of the biggest stars to come from the program was Kara Lynn Joyce, the Swimming World Magazine girls swimmer of the year in 2003 who would win multiple Olympic medals in 2004 and 2008.