Alabama Shakeup: Coley Stickels Resigns as Coach; Margo Geer to Take Over Post-Olympics

coley-stickels
Photo Courtesy: Jeff Hanson / Alabama Athletics

Alabama swimming head coach Coley Stickels has resigned his position to focus on preparing athletes for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the school announced Monday.

Margo Geer will replace Stickels after the 2021 Olympic Games, for which the 28-year-old Geer hopes to qualify. Assistant coach Ozzie Quevedo is the interim coach.

Stickels joined the Crimson Tide in April 2019, coaching the squad through the truncated 2019-20 season and this fall. Alabama won 15 medals and broke 23 school records at the 2020 SEC Championship and qualified 24 swimmers for the cancelled 2020 NCAA Championships, garnering a total of 57 All-American honors.

“This was not an easy decision, but I’ve decided it is best to step down as head coach of the Alabama Swimming & Diving program,” Stickels said in a university release. “It’s been an honor to serve in this position at Alabama. After personal reflection, however, I need to reprioritize my time to concentrate on training athletes for national and international competition, including the upcoming Olympics. I wish the team all of the best going forward and know they are in good hands.”

Alabama’s women’s team is ranked 11th in the nation in the final CSCAA poll of 2020 with the men 14th. Two meets are scheduled for 2021, with Auburn and Georgia Tech on the schedule for January.

Coley Stickels arrived at Alabama after two seasons as Indiana’s associate head sprint coach. His prior stops include the Canyons Aquatic Club in California, Phoenix Swim Club in Arizona and Lake Oswego Swim Club, the University of Arizona grad mentoring such swimmers as Lilly King, Abbey Weitzeil and Ronald Schoeman.

Geer is coming off the International Swimming League season with the DC Trident. Like Stickels, she’s a University of Arizona product, where she was a 27-time All-American. The sprinter has four World Championship relay medals to her name and won four golds at least year’s Pan American Games, including the 100 free and three relays in addition to silver in the 50 free. Geer will swim in her fourth Olympic Trials this summer.

A 2014 graduate of Arizona, she began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Ohio State in 2016-17 and assumed the same position at Alabama.

The hirings are subject to approval by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Deep South

    Stickels—As the late great Luke Perry said on 90210, “May the bridges I burn light my way”

    And let me get this straight. Byrne handed the keys to that program with someone zero head coaching experience at any level?

    What a time to be alive.

  2. avatar
    Guerra

    There’s something more than meets the eye here…

  3. avatar
    Johng

    Coley is arguably one of the best coaches in the world. Clearly the University wanted to retain him as he is still there working with the pros. If there was cause for letting him go I don’t think Bama would let him stay on. He is a strong personality but very sincere and his swimmers seem to be very loyal.
    Margo has no earthly business getting this job. The circumstances are very suspect as she has zero coaching experience. This will end up a mess at Bama in the long run. Was hoping Coley would stay on for the long term as the team was doing unbelievably well under his watch.