By Phillip Whitten
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, June 25. SWIMINFO has learned that University of the Pacific head coach, Ray Looze Jr., will be named the head men's coach at Indiana University later this week.
Looze replaces Kris Kirchner who served as IU's head coach for ten years, following the retirement of the legendary James "Doc" Counsilman.
Looze is a former University of Southern California standout, who excelled in the individual medley under Trojan coach Peter Daland.
According to reliable sources, Looze made the decision to leave Pacific in Stockton, California, last night. Reportedly, he attempted to negotiate a new deal with Pacific's athletic director, but Pacific was unwilling to meet Looze's demands.
While at Pacific, Looze turned the Tigers' fortunes around. This year, both his men's and women's teams won the Big West conference title, upsetting perennial champion, University of California Santa Barbara. Pacific placed several swimmers in the women's NCAA finals in the university's best showing since the late 1950s. Particularly impressive were Sarah Marshall (53.82 and 1:57.65 for 100/200 back, and 53.89 for 100 fly); Heidi Schmidt (1:01.16 for 100 breast); Shannon Catalano (53.50 and 1:58.73 for 100/200 fly); Kristine Willey (2:00.88 and 4:16.95 for 200/400 IM); and the 200 aqnd 400 medley relay, both with the ninth fastest times in the nation this year.
Controversy and rumours have surrounded Looze's application for the IU headman's position for weeks. Initially, he was thought to be a cinch for the job. Then, a group of IU alumni — many of them Olympians — contacted the school's new Athletic Director and asked him to go through a formal interviewing and rating procedure.
That process reportedly resulted in another coach being offered the job — several leading alumns say it was Penn State's Bill Dorenkott — but he turned the offere down. Looze reportedly was then offered the job and he accepted.