TUCSON, Arizona, January 20. CLOSING a story that left the swimming community in shock and speculation for the last several months, Arizona head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Eric Hansen has officially resigned from his position following an extended leave of absence that began in October.
“I have decided to resign my position as head swimming and diving coach at Arizona,” Hansen said in a statement. “After taking a leave from the program in October, I came to the decision that it would be best for me to step down and pursue other interests. I want to thank athletics director Greg Byrne and the current athletic administration for the opportunity I was given.”
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.
“I want to thank Eric for serving as Arizona’s head swimming and diving coach,” Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said in the statement. “Although Eric will no longer serve as head coach, he remains very supportive of Arizona swimming and diving, and we thank him for his service to the program. Associate head coach Rick Demont will serve as interim head coach until a new head coach is named. We plan to open the position and conduct a national search. I’m confident we will find an excellent head coach to lead our swimming and diving program.”
Associate Head Coach Rick Demont, who had previously been detailed as “providing leadership to the program” with University personnel always taking issue with him being called the interim head coach, has now actually been named the interim head coach with many big names within the sport believing it is time for the Demont Era to begin in Tucson.
DeMont, also a graduate of Arizona, has worked at Arizona as a coach for 25 years. Not only did he serve as a major part of Busch’s previous success at the University, he also has been a lynch pin in Tucson’s post-graduate activities as he’s helped countless national and international swimmers to Olympic success.
DeMont has certainly helped the Wildcats weather the storm from the surprising leave of absence, which threw the program into disarray especially considering the steps Arizona took to keep the nature of the leave private. While rumors have run rampant in the past several months, with some of the wildest speculation Swimming World has ever heard surrounding a story, the truth of the matter is still yet unknown.