SIOUX CITY, Iowa, February 11. FOR the first time since announcing a leave of absence from his job as head coach of the University of Arizona’s men’s and women’s swimming teams last October, Eric Hansen has spoken publicly about the reasons behind his departure in the Sioux City Journal.
Hansen grew up in Sioux City before becoming an NCAA All-American at Iowa State University in the 1980s. His life in swimming continued in Tucson, Ariz., where he went to graduate school and became USA Swimming national champion in the 100 backstroke. After that he coached at Phoenix Swim Club and segued into college coaching at the University of Wisconsin before settling into Arizona for almost three full seasons.
In the article, Hansen says the job of being a college head coach required too many demands on his time, and he began to feel burned out.
“This job was 24/7 since I’ve been here,” he said. “I’d wake up at 3 and run from 3:30 to 5. I’d drive to work and meet with my staff from 5:30 to 6, coach from 6 to 8, work in the office till 2, train from 2 to 4:30, go home and make recruiting calls till 8. It was do-able for awhile, but you realize at some point that you’re living your work and not living much.”
The article states that Hansen is still working with the athletic department at Arizona, but did not specify what he’s doing there. He’ll continue there until April, when life’s next chapter will likely take him to Colorado. Hansen stated in the article that he doesn’t plan to go back to coaching, but is thinking about joining his brother Nick’s real estate business in Fort Collins, Colo., soon.
“I realized that this chapter in my life had kind of played out,” he said. “I feel like I got a lot done and now just want a little more balance. I want to have a weekend. I don’t remember the last weekend I’ve had. I’m still young enough to be able to own some of my life.”
Hansen has had a remarkable career as a coach. He’s personally coached two swimmers to the Olympics, guided three swimmers to individual NCAA championships and just as many to international squads. The Wisconsin swim team became a nationally-recognized program under his guidance, and Arizona continued its tradition of excellence.