Coley Stickels Named New Alabama Swimming and Diving Head Coach

Photo Courtesy: University of Alabama Athletics

Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne has announced the hiring of Coley Stickels as The University of Alabama’s next head swimming and diving coach. Stickels comes to Tuscaloosa following a two-year stint as Indiana’s associate head sprint coach.

“As we went through this search, we got a lot of solid insight from the swimming and diving community and Coley’s name kept coming up,” said Byrne. “After meeting, we could see why people spoke so highly of him. He has done an outstanding job at his previous stops and is already prepared with a plan to do the same at Alabama. We are thrilled to welcome Coley, his wife Lindsay, and their son Cal to Tuscaloosa.”

The Hoosiers are coming off a program-first sweep of the men’s and women’s Big Ten team titles in 2019. It was also the men’s third-consecutive team championship, while the women captured the league crown for the first time since 2011. In all, the men won 24 medals – 13 gold, six silver and five bronze, and the women took home 14 medals – seven gold, one silver and six bronze.

“The University of Alabama has continually set the bar for collegiate athletic programs, and I cannot express how excited I am to be a part of it,” said Stickels.

“I look forward to the rich traditions, winning culture and the fantastic resources Alabama provides its student-athletes. I want to thank Director of Athletics Greg Byrne and his staff for the opportunity to coach at the premiere school in the SEC. Roll Tide!”

At the NCAA Championships, Stickels helped guide the men’s team to back-to-back top-3 finishes for the first time in 44 years. The 2019 third-place finish was thanks to four NCAA titles won by Vini Lanza in the 100 fly, Ian Finnerty in the 100 breast, Andrew Capobianco in the 3-meter and the 400 medley relay team. In all, 13 Hoosiers earned a total of 38 All-America honors.

Highlighting the women’s accomplishments was Olympic gold medalist Lilly King, who became the first woman in NCAA history to win eight breaststroke titles, completing her four-year sweep of the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. As a team, Indiana placed ninth overall, earning the program’s fifth-straight top-10 finish and 10th top-10 in school history.

“I am beyond grateful to Indiana University and Ray Looze for the last two years,” added Stickels. “Thank you to all of the Hoosiers who made my time in Indiana a great experience.”

In 2018, the Hoosier men finished third at the NCAA Championships with three IU swimmers winning NCAA titles, the most for the program in 45 years, while also winning the 400 medley relay title with a Big Ten record time of 3:01.07. The relay title was the first for the program since 1977, when it also took home the championship in the 400 medley relay.

That same season, Indiana became the first program in history to sweep all four NCAA titles in the breaststroke in one season with King winning her third 100 and 200 breaststroke crowns.

In February of 2018, the Hoosier men captured the program’s second-straight Big Ten Championship, and 26th overall. IU won a total of 24 medals – 14 gold, seven silver and three bronze and also won four of the five relays at the meet for a second-straight year, which was a program first.

Prior to joining the staff at Indiana, Stickels served as head coach of the prestigious Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita, Calif. from 2012-17. During his time with the Canyons Aquatic Club, he helped lead the team to unprecedented success with over 50 Southern California swimming records broken, five American records, one world record, six national age group records and four national high school records.

Stickels also helped guide World, U.S. Open and American record holder Abbey Weitzeil to gold and silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Santo Condorelli to an Olympic final in Rio.

On the international level, Stickels’ swimmers have earned World Championship gold and bronze medals, Pan-Am Games silver and bronze medals, World University Games gold, silver and bronze medals, Pan-Pacific silver medal and Short Course World Championships gold and silver medals. In 2013-14, Canyons swimmers qualified and competed in the Junior World Championships, as well as Junior Pan-Pacific Championships.

Since 2013, Coley has been a USA National Team coach, including as a staff member of the 2014 Short Course World Team in Doha, Qatar.

Before coaching at Canyons, Stickels was the head coach of Phoenix Swim Club where he helped coach international sprint superstar and former world record holder Roland Schoeman. Schoeman placed fifth in the 2012 in the Olympic Games.

In addition, Stickels coached National Age Group champions, Junior National Champions and nine Olympic Trials qualifiers in 2012, as well as the youngest swimmer at the meet (13 years old).

From 2003-2011, Stickels coached Lake Oswego Swim Club where his swimmers broke eight national age group records and qualified the youngest swimmer in history to the 2008 Olympic Trials (age 12). In 2010, Stickels was named coach to the South African Pac Pacific team.

In total, Stickels has coached swimmers to 15 national age group Records and over 50 No. 1-nationally ranked age group swimmers and relays.

Stickels began coaching in 2001 at Dartmouth College, serving as the men’s and women’s assistant.

During his collegiate career at the University of Arizona, Stickels was a 14-time All-America honoree, graduating cum laude in 2001. With the Wildcats, he was named a First-Team Academic All-American and First-Team Academic All-Pac 10 in 2000. He was also a member of the U.S. National Team from 1999-2000 and also swam for Team USA at the Short Course World Championships in 1999.

Stickels and his wife, Lindsay, have one son, Cal.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Alabama Swimming and Diving. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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Matthew Lowe
5 years ago

Its been coming, but a big loss for the Hoosiers…

Geoffrey O'Bear
5 years ago

Congratulations best wishes from Keith McElroy

Karin Knudson O'Connell


Kim Dunning
Kim Dunning
5 years ago

Congrats. Will miss seeing you on deck with the Hoosiers.

Thomas A. Small
5 years ago


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