TUCSON, Arizona, October 22. ARIZONA head coach Eric Hansen has taken a leave of absence as detailed in a statement by Athletics Director Greg Byrne.
“Coach Eric Hansen is currently attending to personal matters that require him to be away from his coaching responsibilities,” Byrne wrote. “We wish Eric the best during this time.”
Update: Swimming World had reported in an earlier version of this article that associate head coach Rick DeMont will be taking over as interim head coach in Hansen’s absence, but sources in the Arizona athletic department tell Swimming World that Hansen has not lost his title as head coach, and DeMont will “continue to provide leadership to the team.”
No timeline has been set for Hansen’s return, which the department said “could happen tomorrow, which we hope, or it could be longer.”
Hansen has been at the helm of the program since taking over for USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch after the 2011 NCAA Championships. During his time at the helm, Arizona has captured 26 All-American citations with several strong finishes at NCAAs by both the men and women.
Hansen is a graduate of Arizona, having earned his master’s degree from the school after graduating from Iowa State in 1988 with his bachelor’s degree.
DeMont, also a graduate of Arizona, has worked at Arizona as a coach for 25 years. He is most known as a swimmer for being the first to crack four minutes in the 400 long course freestyle and for losing his gold medal in the 400 free at the 1972 Olympics after testing positive for a banned drug in his asthma medication.