After 45 Years at Marist, Larry VanWagner Announces Retirement

Photo Courtesy: Marist Athletics

Larry VanWagner, the longtime coach of Marist swimming and diving, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective June 1, 2021. That day will mark 45 years since VanWagner’s hiring by Marist.

VanWagner, the Red Foxes’ current director of swimming, was hired by Marist in 1976 when the Red Foxes were a Division III program with a club swimming and diving team.

A graduate of Springfield College’s swimming program, VanWagner was a New England Champion in a pair of relays and an All-American.

VanWagner helped lead Marist’s transition to Division I by 1981. The varsity swimming program started in 1978, splitting into men’s and women’s teams in 1983 with VanWagner at the helm of the men’s team. He’s also been in charge of Marist Swim Club for more than 30 years.

VanWagner has coached the men’s team since its start and has been in charge of the women’s team since 2003-04. He’s won 423 of his 628 dual meets and won 36 conference championships dating to 1990, including 18 MAAC Championships by the women’s team.

“My family and I are so very grateful to the wonderful people who have enriched our lives, especially the young men and women who represented the institution with great pride and distinction throughout the 43-year history of Red Fox Swimming & Diving,” Larry VanWagner said in a team release. “It is with great pride to have witnessed our program’s rise to dominance within the Metropolitan and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferences over the years and to be a part of a record 36 conference championships. I will forever hold the memories of each victory dear to my heart and be grateful for your friendship and dedication to Marist College and to the sport of swimming & diving. Go Red Foxes!”

VanWagner’s accolades include 13 Coach of the Year awards in the conference and a spot on the MAAC 40th anniversary men’s and women’s swimming and diving team, released in 2020. His swimmers have won 242 individual conference championships, with three qualifying for U.S. national championships and two for Olympic Trials. Out of the pool, 10 former charges of VanWagner had been named Marist Sportsperson of the Year, with two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and a Fulbright Scholar.

“This is the announcement that I hoped I would never have to make, but after nearly a half a century Coach VanWagner has earned this day,” Marist Director of Athletics Tim Murray said. “Larry has been a staple on the Marist campus, impacting the lives of countless athletes while building one of the most consistently successful swimming programs in the country over the past four decades. His impact and legacy will always be a part of the Marist Swimming program. Our Athletics program thanks Larry for his outstanding career, and wish Larry and his wife, Ginny, many blessings as they begin their retirement together.”

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