BYU Coach Shari Skabelund Announces Retirement After 37 Years

Photo Courtesy: BYU Athletics

BYU Coach Shari Skabelund Announces Retirement After 37 Years

Shari Skabelund announced her retirement on Monday after 37 years of part- and full-time coaching at BYU.

Skabelund started out in Provo as a part-time assistant coach to the women’s team in 1987. She’s been there ever since, save for one year off to give birth to a daughter. Since the combination of the men’s and women’s team under one coach in 2008, Skabelund led the sprint group. She took over as head coach in 2021.

“When Stan Crump asked me to join his staff in 1987, I said, ‘No.’ He persisted, and it’s been a great run,” Skabelund said in a university statement. “My life has been blessed by the student-athletes, my fellow coaches and the athletics-support staff who have become lifelong friends. I thank Elaine Michaelis for her trust, guidance and support. She and Stan championed my first priority: being a mother. I thank Tim Powers for asking me to stretch myself and work with sprinters. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been part of the sport of swimming as it has grown and changed. It’s been a beautiful journey. Finally, I deeply appreciate my family for all of the support they’ve given me over the years. BYU Swim and Dive has experienced incredible progress during the past three years; I hope it can continue for many years to come.”

Assistant coach Tamber McAllister has been named interim head coach while the school searches for a replacement.

Under Skabelung, BYU’s men’s team finishing third at the Big 12 Championships this year. They scored at NCAAs for the first time since 2016, qualifying three relays to NCAAs and re-setting four of the five relay records.

Skabelund has led 21 NCAA qualifiers and 50 individual conference titles since 2008. She had six swimmers qualify for U.S. Olympic Trials in 2021, plus Dominican Republic Olympian Josue Dominguez.

“Shari has played a pivotal role in the success of BYU Swim for 37 years as a student-athlete, an assistant coach and as our head coach,” said Tom Holmoe, BYU director of athletics. “I’m so grateful for her tremendous career in which she mentored hundreds of her athletes to be their very best in and out of the pool.

Skabelund swam at BYU under coach Tim Powers, graduating in 1981. The first BYU female swimmer to complete four years of eligibility, she qualified for AIAW Nationals in 1978 and 1979 and won a pair of Region 18 titles. She began coaching in 1982 at Springville High School, staying until 1987 and winning state Class 3A titles in 1985 and 1986. While working at BYU, Skabelund was also the head coach of the Springfield Seals club from 1980-2004 and Utah Valley Aquatics from 2004-23.

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