RIVER FALLS, Wisconsin, September 9. WITH less than a month until its season opener against Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the swimming and diving team at Wisconsin-River Falls is staring team suspension right in the face. The plight of the Falcons began a month ago when head coach Ryan Hawke left UWRF with just two months before the start of the season.
This week, the final two candidates both turned down the job, and UWRF Director of Athletics Roger Ternes told the team that tonight that the program is likely to be suspended going forward.
Earlier this month, Ternes laid out the situation to the UWRF swim team pretty directly with the following email:
UWRF Swim Team Members-
As you already know, Coach Ryan Hawke recently resigned his position as the head Swimming and Diving Coach at UWRF. His departure at this late date was as surprising to us as it must have been for you. We are aggressively searching for a qualified coach that will be a suitable match for UWRF. However, if we fail to secure a new coach prior to the beginning of the academic year, we may be forced to suspend the program for the foreseeable future.
We will continue to be in touch as the search unfolds.
Director of Athletics
Today, the swimmers received a summons to appear in the Willow River Room at the University Center for a conversation to discuss the future of the program. We have redacted candidate information below to protect their privacy, but the email summons is printed below.
UWRF Swim/Dive Team-
On Monday, September 9 at 4:30 pm I have reserved the Willow River Room (334) in the UWRF University Center for us to meet and discuss the future of UWRF swimming and diving. Since the resignation of Coach Ryan Hawke, we have posted, advertised and searched & screened potential candidates for the vacant Head Coach position. After reviewing all inquiries 2 potential coaches came to the forefront. One coach was from [redacted] and one was from [redacted].
Shortly after contacting both individuals about interviewing for the position, the [redacted] withdrew [redacted] application from consideration. Last Friday we interviewed [redacted]. For the past week [redacted] and I have been corresponding with follow-up questions and topics related to the UWRF swimming & diving program. Last night I received a call from [redacted] indicating that UWRF should no longer consider [redacted] for the vacant coaching position. It appears this was not the right fit for [redacted] at this time.
Again, I hope you have an opportunity to meet with us on Monday, September 9 at 4:30 in the Willow River Room (334).
Director of Athletics
During this meeting, according to one of the swimmers on the team, Ternes told those in attendance that he would meet with the faculty senate on Friday, Sept. 20 to make a decision on suspending the team. Ternes also said that if there are no further applicants for the job by Monday, Sept. 16 that UWRF Athletics will suspend the head coaching search.
So, if you are looking for a head coaching position, there's definitely a motivated group of swimmers hoping and praying that you come calling posthaste.
The UWRF Falcons are an NCAA Division III program that competes as part of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.
Immediate attempts to contact the Athletics Department for comment were not successful.