Ithaca College Coach Kevin Markwardt Announces Retirement

Photo Courtesy: Ithaca College

Ithaca College Coach Kevin Markwardt Announces Retirement

Ithaca College head swim coach Kevin Markwardt announced his retirement on Wednesday after 36 years at the helm of the men’s team.

In all, Markwardt spent 42 years coaching at Ithaca, arriving in 1981 as an assistant. He has been in charge of both the men’s and women’s programs since 2020, following the retirement of long-time women’s coach Paula Miller.

“I am forever grateful to have been able to coach under and alongside Paula Miller for over three decades. Her drive to push athletes to be their best was an inspiration for me,” Markwardt said in a university statement. “She was always willing to work together to do what was best for both the men’s and women’s programs. One of my greatest satisfactions has been to see so many of our Bomber assistant coaches go on to successful coaching positions across the country. It was a privilege to have had some small part in their development as coaches.”

Markwardt surpassed 400 dual meet wins during the 2022-23 season. He led the Ithaca women to a 14th-place finish at the 2023 NCAA Division III championships (the men were 36th). Both the men’s and women’s teams finished 18th in 2022. He spent six seasons as an assistant in Ithaca before ascending to the men’s head coaching job in 1987.

Markwardt is a 10-time conference coach of the year. He has mentored more than 200 All-Americans and three NCAA champions (Colin Herlihy in 1996, Jack Wadsworth in 2022, diver Ava Lowell in 2022). The Ithaca women’s team has won the Liberty League each of the last two seasons, while the men’s team has won 10 titles under Markwardt’s watch.

“Kevin Markwardt guided our highly successful swimming and diving programs, notably the men’s teams, impressively for four decades,” athletic director Susan Bassett said. “His name is synonymous with ICSD. Ithaca has always been in contention for conference championships under Kevin’s leadership. Among his outstanding contributions to Ithaca College is his work in designing the Kelsey Partridge Bird Natatorium, one of the finest aquatics facilities in the northeast. That is a legacy achievement to go along with all the students he mentored as our head men’s coach and more recently the women’s program.”

Markwardt is a former president of the Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association and was long active in the Empire State Games, as the swimming chairman of the central region for 10 years and the state chair for five years.