MT. LEBANON, Penn., January 16. IMAGINE a coach at a Division I college fashioning men's and women's teams that are among the very best in the nation, resigning and then immediately going to coach at a suburban Pennsylvania high school. It has happened at Mt. Lebanon.
Last summer, Don Wagner resigned as the men's and women's swim coach at the University of Alabama. Wagner had revived a moribund Crimson Tide program for four seasons and both were on the rise. At last year's NCAA Championships, the Tide women finished 15th and the men 12th. In fact, had it not been for a disqualification of his men's 400 yard medley relay team when an over-enthusiastic relay team member jumped in before all the other teams had finished, the Alabama men would have cracked the top 10.
Now Wagner is the boys' and girls' coach at Mt. Lebanon, which has one of
the top swimming programs in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL).
"We're excited to have someone of his caliber here," said Mt. Lebanon
athletic director John Grogan.
Wagner has an impressive resume. Before Alabama, he was the women's
coach at Texas A&M and an assistant coach at Southern California and
Before college coaching, he also was the head coach of FAST (Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team) in California. Among the swimmers he coached at FAST was Olympian Janet Evans.
Besides coaching Mt. Lebanon, Wagner also has a full-time job as director of the Mt. Lebanon Aqua Club.