Josh Christensen Takes Vacant Indiana State Head Coaching Job

Photo Courtesy: Indiana State Athletics

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State Director of Athletics Sherard Clinkscales announced today that Josh Christensen has been named the head coach of Sycamore swimming and diving.

Christensen comes to Indiana State from Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, Calif., following a national search.

“We are excited about the passion and experience Coach Josh Christensen will bring to the Indiana State Women’s Swimming & Diving program,” ISU Director of Athletics Sherard Clinkscales said. “He is the right fit for our program as we look to continue the climb up the Missouri Valley Conference standings. Coach Christensen will move our program forward based on a strong work ethic in and out of the pool. His wife, Jenny, is a former NCAA All-American Swimmer and a native of Kokomo. Sycamore Athletics is proud to welcome the Christensen family home to Indiana!”

Christensen oversaw the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams while at Fresno Pacific, turning the programs into national contenders in NCAA Division II.

“I would like to thank President Curtis and Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity to lead the Women’s Swimming & Diving program at Indiana State University,” new head coach Josh Christensen said. “The opportunity to lead a program that is only two years old, yet already has so much positive momentum, is truly unique. On our visit to campus, my wife and I were impressed by the professionalism of the athletic department, the great people in Terre Haute, and the vision for the future of Sycamore Swimming and Diving. The resources and people are in place to build a championship program that Terre Haute and the state of Indiana can be proud of.”

While in college, Christensen married his wife Jenny, an NCAA All-American swimmer at Ouachita Baptist University who was part of an NCAA-record setting relay team and still owns the OBU school record in the 100 breaststroke. Jenny was also an Indiana age group state champion. The couple has three sons named Levi (5), Finn (2) and Axel (1).

“Along with our excitement about the future of the program, this move brings our young family close to my wife’s family. My wife is from Kokomo and swimming in the state of Indiana was a huge part of her life growing up. We understand the swimming and diving tradition in the state and we’re so excited to embrace that and be part of its future,” Christensen said.

During the 2017-18 season, Christensen led the women to a fourth place finish and the men to an eighth place finish at the NCAA Division II Championships, the highest-ever result for both teams. The women were the highest finisher of all West Region teams, and it was the second consecutive season both teams finished in the NCAA top-10. Fresno Pacific athletes earned 42 All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. Both teams also placed second at the Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference Championships.

“We have hired a fantastic head coach in Josh Christensen,” Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance Joel McMullen said. “We feel that the experience and qualities he brings to the ISU Swimming & Diving program will ensure its success now and in the future. Our staff did a terrific job during this search and we appreciate everyone’s insight and involvement. Sherard heavily invested himself personally and professionally in this endeavor to find the right fit for our student athletes. We are very appreciative of our swimming and diving student athletes for taking a very active part in this search. Their voice weighed heavily in the final decision. They are excited for the future. The feeling amongst them, and all of us, is that they will use the difficulties they have endured the last several weeks to bond even closer and make a push to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference.”

“Today is a great day for Sycamore Athletics and we are thrilled to welcome Coach Christensen and his family to Terre Haute. There is no doubt the program will thrive under his leadership,” McMullen said.

In 2016-17, Christensen led the men and women to ninth and 10th place finishes at the NCAA Division II Championships, while both programs were also the top finishers out of all West Region schools and were one of six programs in the nation to both achieve top-10 finishes. During the meet, the team produced 27 All-Americans and 11 school records while each FPU student-athlete scored points. The Sunbirds also took second at the PCSC Championships.

At the end of the season, Christensen was named the PCSC Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year. Under his leadership, Laura Fornshell was tabbed the PCSC Women’s Swimmer of the Year, while Duston Gragg earned Diver of the Year. Fornshell was also awarded the FPU Freshman of the Year award, Matlyn Morris earned Sunbird of the Year honors and the men’s and women’s teams received the Team of the Year award by the department.

The 2015-16 season saw Christensen elevate the Fresno Pacific swimming and diving program, as FPU qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history, sending seven athletes to compete. All seven athletes scored points for the Sunbirds as well.

Outside of the pool, FPU received CSCAA Scholar All-America Teams on both the men’s and women’s sides. The Sunbirds also had seven individuals named Scholar All-Americans.

Led by Christensen, the Sunbirds broke several school records and earned many program firsts in 2014-15. The men placed third at the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference, while the women finished fifth and Christensen earned Co-Coach of the Meet. The FPU program also excelled in the classroom under Christensen, as the men earned CSCAA All-Academic and ranked 25th in Division II with a 3.39 team GPA.

Several members of the 2014-15 teams earned individual honors under Christensen’s leadership. Alex Hussain was named FPU’s Scholar of the Year and earned Capital One Academic All-American honors, while diver Duston Gragg was named the PCSC men’s Diver of the Meet. Wesley Coles qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 butterfly (54.58), while Daria Belova won the 100 (1:14.16) and the 200 (2:40.43) breaststroke at the FINA Masters World Championships. Christensen also help bring media attention to record-setting swimmer Kendall Swanson, who ranked first in NCAA Division II in the 100 and 200 breaststroke during the regular season.

Christensen earned his first PCSC men’s Coach of the Meet award in 2013-14 after leading the men to a third place finish. The Sunbirds also ranked fifth in all of Division II with a 3.35 team GPA, while the women ranked 14th with a 3.40 team GPA as both teams earned CSCAA All-Academic under Christensen.

In his first year at the helm, Christensen had the Sunbirds ranked eighth in the nation and the women No. 12 in their first year at the NCAA Division II level in 2012-13. Christensen led FPU to a second-place finish at the PCSC Championships, while the women took home third. In the classroom under his leadership, the men held a 3.01 cumulative GPA to earn the CSCAA All-Academic Team honor.

Before his time at Fresno Pacific Christensen spent two seasons at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix as the head assistant and recruiting coordinator for one of the top swimming programs in NCAA Division II.

Under Christensen, the GCU men’s team, which had finished 16th the year before he arrived, put together two consecutive NCAA top-five finishes and was ranked #1 in the nation in January 2011. He took the women’s team from a 27th place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2010 to an eighth place finish in 2011.

Originally from Mesa, Ariz., Christensen swam at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas as a student-athlete before joining the OBU coaching staff during his junior year of college.

He was an assistant coach from 2007-2010 and during that span the men’s team never finished lower than fifth and the women’s team never lower than 10th at the NCAA Division II national championships.

In the summer of 2011 he coached Team Canyon of USA Swimming Club at the USA Swimming National Championships hosted by Stanford with one of his athletes qualifying for the Olympic Trials in two different events.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history & political science from Ouachita Baptist, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, with a leadership emphasis, from Grand Canyon.

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Indiana State Swimming and Diving. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Myron D Scott

    Mesa (Arizona) Mountain View and Mesa Aquatic Club

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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