Augie Busch Named Head Coach of University of Arizona Swim Team

augie-busch-arizona

Augie Busch has been named as the new head coach of the University of Arizona women’s and men’s swim teams. Busch had spent the previous four seasons as head coach at the University of Virginia. He previously served as an assistant at Arizona under his father Frank Busch from 2003 to 2011.

Augie Busch succeeds Rick DeMont, a longtime assistant under Frank Busch who took over as head coach for the last four seasons. DeMont announced his retirement in late May.

Busch has a strong athletic background both in swimming and other sports. He played for a state championship high school volleyball team in Arizona and DI volleyball at Ohio State.  He returned to Tucson to graduate from the University of Arizona in 1998. He then coached club swimming for several years in Tuscon before beginning his college coaching career at Arkansas. He returned again to Tucson in 2003 as a full-time assistant with the Arizona Wildcats, which coincided with a huge period of success for the program.

During Busch’s eight year stint as an assistant under his father at Arizona, the women’s and men’s teams posted 15 top-five finishes at the NCAA championships (in 16 attempts) and won team titles for both the women and men in 2008. The team also posted 24 individual NCAA championships and 22 relay championships during that span.

Busch worked closely with the backstroke, butterfly and IM groups in Tucson, and he was key in coaching Albert Subirats to NCAA championships and a World Championships medal in the 100 fly in 2007.

In 2011, around the same time his father left Arizona to become USA Swimming’s National Team Director, Busch took over as head coach of the Houston Cougars for two seasons. He moved on to Virginia in the fall of 2013, and while with the Cavaliers he won three straight women’s ACC championships from 2014 to 2016.

Led by Leah Smith, Busch’s Virginia women’s teams finished in the top five at the NCAA championships in both 2015 and 2016.

Augie Busch will be bringing Cory Chitwood, a three-time NCAA Champion in the 200 backstroke, and his brother Sam Busch back to Tucson as a part of his staff.

Frank Busch, who had no influence on the hiring process, will be moving back to Tucson after the World Championships in Budapest when he retires from his responsibilities as National Team Director for USA Swimming. Frank told Swimming World that, “This is a dream come true for Augie, Sam and Cory. Like all the alums, they want the program to be back in the mix!”

With the hiring of Augie Busch and staff, the U of A is poised to rise to the top ranks of NCAA Swimming. A recent text message exchange summed it up perfectly: “The boys are back in town!”

Read the full press release from the University of Arizona below:

Augie Busch has been named Arizona head swimming and diving coach, Director of Athletics Dave Heeke announced on Saturday. A UA assistant for eight seasons under his legendary father Frank Busch and a UA alumnus, Busch returns to Arizona after spending the last four seasons as head coach at Virginia and the previous two seasons as the head women’s coach at Houston.

“The opportunity to return to the University of Arizona as the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving program is both unexpected and thrilling,” Busch said. “Tucson is not only the place of my fondest family and college memories, but of my proudest professional accomplishments as well. I can’t possibly overstate my gratitude and appreciation to Dave Heeke and Erika Barnes for placing their confidence in me. With whole-hearted determination and fierce loyalty, I look forward to many years of Arizona pride and Wildcat success.”

In four seasons under Busch’s guidance, the Cavalier women won three ACC Championships and posted two fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships, the best finishes in program history. The Cavaliers saw 11 individuals earn 25 All-America honors and 22 honorable mention All-America honors, while producing nine All-America relays and eight honorable mention All-America relays. In four seasons, the Cavaliers set 30 school records, eight ACC records and three NCAA records. Based on these accomplishments, Busch was named the ACC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year three times.

“We’re excited to welcome Augie back to the University of Arizona to lead our prestigious swimming and diving program,” Heeke stated. “Augie has the experience and aptitude to build on the storied history of Arizona swimming and diving. He’s produced high-level results as both a head coach and assistant coach, while developing national-championship and Olympic quality swimmers. I am confident that he’ll lead our program to prominence at both the Pac-12 and NCAA levels.”

In addition to the overall accolades at Virginia, Busch tutored Leah Smith to four NCAA freestyle titles, while Courtney Bartholomew earned four NCAA runner-up finishes in the backstroke. The Cavalier women posted the top relay finish in school history (second in the 400 medley relay in 2015) and recorded the school’s single-season record for NCAA finalist relays with four in 2016.

The Cavaliers were also strong academically under Busch with 38 student-athletes being named to the All-ACC Academic Teams and Ellen Williamson being recognized on the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District squad. Both Williamson and Haley Durmer went on to earn prestigious ACC Postgraduate Scholarships.

In two seasons as the women’s coach at Houston, Busch improved the profile of the Cougars athletically and academically. The Cougars recorded personal-best times in 90 percent of their swims and broke seven school records in 2013, while achieving a program-best 3.42 team GPA. He led the Cougars to a program-best, second-place finish at the Conference USA Championships in 2013, improving on a fourth-place finish in 2012.

Before heading to Houston, Busch was a highly-successful assistant coach at Arizona from 2003-11, when the Wildcats earned 15 top-five NCAA finishes, more than any other program during that period. His tenure was highlighted by both the men’s and women’s programs winning NCAA Championships in 2008.

As an assistant at UA, Busch worked primarily with the backstroke, butterfly and individual medley swimmers, while also serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator. In his eight seasons at Arizona, Busch’s training group produced three NCAA champions, 21 individual All-Americans and swimmers on 10 national championship relay teams.

Busch was instrumental in the success of two Olympians in Albert Subirats of Venezuela and Jake Tapp of Canada. Subirats is one of the most decorated swimmers in UA history with six national titles and 20 All-America accolades. Busch served as an assistant coach for the Venezuelan Olympic team in 2008 as well as for the 2007 Pan American Games.

Prior to his time as an assistant at Arizona, Busch spent two seasons as an assistant coach for the Arkansas women’s team, helping the Razorbacks to school records in 15 of 18 events and a 31st-place finish at the 2003 NCAA meet.

Busch began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant coach for the Hillenbrand Aquatics club team, now known as Ford Aquatics. He was also a volunteer assistant with Arizona from 1998-2001 and he was head coach of a high-profile summer league program, Sabino Vista Hills, during those same years. Busch served as the head swimming coach at Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic from 1999-2000.

A two-time letterwinner on the men’s volleyball team at The Ohio State University, Busch returned to his native Tucson and graduated from Arizona in 1998 with a degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish.

8 comments

  1. avatar
    Jim Stites

    Awesome! Great pick. Looking forward to having the boys back in town!

  2. JB Baker

    Always great to see former University of Houston Swim Coach get promoted to their dream job. BZ Augie

  3. avatar
    Billyj

    Could not have chosen a worse coach. Nepotism at its finest again with the Busch family. RIP UofA Swimming and Diving

  4. Gil Fergus

    This Buds for you.

  5. Lisa Remele Harris

    As a UVA alumni, I wish Augie and his staff all the best in their new endeavors! It was a pleasure to know you. Thank you for your hard work with the UVA swimming program and student athletes!

  6. Rob Richardson

    ASU is looking forward to the competition!

  7. avatar
    Chet

    Complete joke of a hire. This guy has done nothing to warrant the head job at uofa. Leah smith was not coached by Augie.

    • DaveJ

      No, coached by Chitwood who is coming with. Much more to running a program than on deck coaching. He’s run successful programs.