John Carroll Out As Head Coach of Jersey Wahoos – Updated

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

John Carroll, long time head coach for Jersey Wahoos, was released from his position for non-coaching related reasons a source close to the situation revealed to Swimming World.

The following was posted on the Club’s website:

Today marks the start of a new chapter for the Jersey Wahoos.  The board has initiated a national search for a new Director of Competitive Swimming.  In the interim, Karen Clemens has agreed to serve in this capacity. Over the years Karen has developed a reputation as one of the top age group coaches in the country. Recently she has also served as our coordinator for the Safe Sport program.

The board plans to have a new director in place by the end of the summer. Guidelines have been established and we have begun our search. We are looking for an individual that is enthusiastic, has been involved with a national level squad, and has the ability to develop and coordinate a well-structured program at all levels.

The board would also like to officially announce the hiring of Ed Abele as our Director of Business Development. Ed has been working closely with our staff in recent months.  He is a former Jersey Wahoo (still holds a few team records), a graduate of the University of North Carolina (where he was an All American), and has completed advanced course work at Harvard.  Ed was COO of a large manufacturing company and comes to us ready to implement his deep knowledge and understanding of running a successful company. Ed is committed to the success of Jersey Wahoos and is looking forward to restructuring the business side of Wahoos.  When completed his focus will shift towards fund raising, developing programs to increase the membership, and plans for our long discussed facility expansion.

This is the beginning of an exciting time for Jersey Wahoos. We look forward to upgrading and expanding our program while setting goals that will culminate with one of the top age group/senior teams in the country. The future of Jersey Wahoos shines bright and we look forward to continuing to execute our mission of inspiring and developing athletes to achieve excellence in the pool, the classroom, and the community!

Swimming World reached out to Carroll for comment. He release the following statement:

I would like to thank all of the coaches, parents and swimmers with whom I have had the pleasure of working with over the past 40 years at Jersey Wahoos.  Coaching has never been a job for me – it is my passion.

I am saddened by the way the new Board of Directors released me from coaching our senior swimmers during such a critical time in their long course season. Top priority should have been given to our dedicated athletes.

To be clear, there was no wrong-doing on my part in any non-coaching related reasons which led to my release.

The reason I have coached the National Team at Jersey Wahoos for over 30 years was not only to help coach the best team in South Jersey/Middle Atlantic, but to help create young men and women of good character.  Having received such an outpouring of support, with so many touching messages, in the past three days from coaches, swimmers and alumni – I truly believe this is the case.

I hope to continue pursuing this passion of mine in the very near future.  Stay tuned for the next chapter!

Yours in swimming,

John Carroll


  1. Agil


  2. avatar
    Greaso Beaso

    John didn’t do anything wrong. This was related to finances. As in, the new owners and John disagreed on the direction the club should be going.

  3. avatar

    Great man and coach whom I’ve had the privilege to be around for years. The board handled this with zero class and continues actions that receive a vote of none confidence from the masses

  4. avatar
    Stephen "Sid" Cassidy

    I am glad to read this classy statement from a class act coach. I am also truly disappointed that any aquatic board anywhere would release such a callous and self-serving statement regardless of their motivation.
    Our sport deserves better.
    This coach deserves better.
    Forty years.

  5. avatar
    IPBased Rowan

    I have been involved as a parent with Wahoos for almost 15 years. I have always found John Carroll to be a sound, professional, dedicated, passionate coach and person, who always has his swimmers best interests in mind. This decision by the Board has been poorly communicated, leaving the swimmers stunned, saddened and confused. As the parent of a swimmer who is about to enter his senior year of high school, the timing could not be worse. John- I wish you the best wherever you land and most assuredly it will be on your feet.

  6. avatar
    Dylan Evangelista

    I swam for Jersey Wahoos for 7 years, 3 of which were under John’s tutelage. Throughout my time in the swimming community; as an athlete, as a coach, and as a journalism intern for Swimming World I have received a ton of exposure to many great athletes and coaches in the swimming world. John Carroll stands head and shoulders above everyone else who has helped fuel my passion for this sport. His character as a coach and a mentor, along with his genuine passion for the sport of swimming is unparalleled to most. Truly a shame to see a man who has dedicated his life to this sport be treated with such little class. Wherever John lands, I guarantee success will follow!

  7. avatar
    Michelle Palmer

    I have known John Carroll for 39 years and had the great fortune to have him as my coach throughout my swimminh career. John Carroll is an incredible swim coach but even moreso a mentor and role model for young people to look up to during their formative years. He is a class act and is the foundation upon which Wahoos was built. A 40 plus year Wahoos alumni are saddened that this could happen in this manner. Jon deserves better and the kids deserve better than this example from this board.

  8. avatar

    The needed changes at Jersey Wahoos are on the board, not the coaching staff.

    • avatar


  9. avatar

    The Board needs to protect the club. The club was making money ($54k in 2014 and $97k in 2015) then started to lose money ($92k in 2016 and $147k in 2017). There was an increase in swim team expenses of $143k from 2015 to 2017 and sponsorship / contributions were non-existent in 2015 and went up to $101k in 2017. Those are some big increases that caused losses. If the losing trend is continuing in 2018 I’m sure they needed to make a change. It call comes down to making money – just like every other business.

  10. avatar

    The Board needs to protect the club. The club was making money ($54k in 2014 and $97k in 2015) then started to lose money ($92k in 2016 and $147k in 2017). There was an increase in swim team expenses of $143k from 2015 to 2017 and sponsorship / contributions were non-existent in 2015 and went up to $101k in 2017. Those are some big increases that caused losses. If the losing trend is continuing in 2018 I’m sure they needed to make a change. It call comes down to making money – just like every other business.

    This is all public information since Jersey Wahoos is a not-for-profit corporation.

  11. avatar

    That is no justification for how someone who is given 40 years to Wahoos with distinction has been treated. Culture matters, how people are treated matters. Business does not have to be callous, it can be conducted with grace and compassion. It’s a choice. I look forward to seeing the accountability with the board members next to protect Wahoos

  12. avatar

    If the search is supposed to have begun and be extensive, how come I can not find any job postings? Was the positioned filled before John was let go?

  13. avatar

    John was treated just as he treated others. No one was worried about coaches after he let them go and kicked their kids out of the pool during practice. John created a culture of elitism and bullying, not teamwork. When was the last time you saw someone from his team cheering on others? John’s strength was in his assistant coaches. After BB left, coaching was inconsistent causing families to find outside training. If John was doing such a good job managing the club, why is there nearly 5 swim schools within a 10 mile radius of the club while the clubs lesson enrollment is down. John had free run, he was managing director and head coach. Where were the checks and balances. This is long over due. The board should be applauded for finally stepping up. This should serve as a wake up call for NCSA.

    • avatar

      Kids get kicked out of the pool for good reason! And that rarely hapoened. This helecopter parent generation with participation trophies are ruining society. SRA1 is not a swim school. If you have reached that level you should have your skills in place. No large team of any kind, especially swimming, can stop and do individual guidance. The fact that there are swim schools around there like everywhere else in the country is because parents are now willing to pay for private training of any kind! All sports, SAT etc! That is a sign of the times not a result of John Carrolls coaching! He was training them not babying them! Sounds to me like either A you couldn’t handle the training or your kids could not handle the training. Look in the mirror for that. NOT at John! He is an excellent coach and the board messed up getting rid of him!

  14. BEWARE PARENTS! How could Jersey Wahoos get it so WRONG on so many levels? If the Board wanted to go in a new direction they should’ve looked for a better replacement after Burt German’s death. Brad Glenn is an horrible example for the club. I worked at Wahoos for 25yrs, and never a good day when Mr. Glenn came to swim. Him yelling at the staff, shouting on the deck, making snide comments to me and others are not leadership qualities. One morning in particular Mr.Glenn was screaming on the deck while swim lessons, and membership hours were ongoing. I called my boss and manager at the time, and was told to call the police if it gets worse while they were enroute to Wahoos. Mr. Glenn was yelling “I’m the boss here, and I got something in my bag for you B” pointing at me! Thankfully my manager and Supervisor got there very quickly! That day Mr. Glenn was told to leave the facility, and now he’s the President of the Board???? I wrote LETTERS to the Board about Mr. Glenn’s SEXUAL/WORK HARASSMENT towards ME, and explained that this is ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR. I also informed the Board that I will be obtaining a restraining order against Mr. Glenn. Not once but TWICE he called me FILTHY NAMES, and screamed at me till I cried a handful of times. If the past is any indicator for the future of Wahoos the outlook is very bleak. Brad Bowser left because he wanted to. No other reason, period. Wahoos took on the Sterling site in Vorhees to expand the swimming program. Fault of the “lost monies” lay with the Presidents of Boards who signs the checks for any transactions. You would think this man Mr. Glenn would be kinder, and try to be a better person after I saved him from drowning one afternoon at Wahoos.