Margo Geer Traveled Unique and Unselfish Route to Alabama Helm

Margo Geer
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Margo Geer Traveled Unique and Unselfish Route to Alabama Helm

This past year has been nothing short of chaotic, but for new head coach of the University of Alabama, this year was a different kind of whirlwind. To recap, back in December, the University of Alabama announced that Coley Stickels was resigning and associate head coach Ozzie Quevedo would take over as interim head coach. Meanwhile, Margo Geer would officially become the new head coach beginning in the late summer. While coaching changes are far from rare in the collegiate world, Geer was still a professional athlete, training for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games at the time of her hire.

Four months out from Olympic Trials, Geer decided to hang up her goggles and pick up the stopwatch permanently. She would take on the sport of swimming from a different perspective. She has long known she wanted to stay involved with the sport, but did not know in what capacity. Reflecting on her career aspirations, Geer shared that she felt “confident that (her) skill-set lends itself to a lot of possible career choices.”

2/23/21 MWSD Alabama vs SECChampionships Alabama Head Coach Margo Geer Photo by Jeff Hanson

Margo Geer at men’s SECs. Photo Courtesy: Jeff Hanson / Alabama Athletics

Throughout various stages of her life, she had interest in studying the human body and working with people to make them better. She originally wanted to be a doctor but heading into college, Geer was interested in possibly pursuing physical therapy. However, it was in her post-collegiate career that it became obvious she wanted to coach. Her inspiration sparked from her parents, who both coached and taught. Her dad coached football and her mom coached volleyball when she was younger.

It was her strong connection to the water that made Geer realize that coaching was the career for her.

“I have a very strong bond to swimming,” Geer said. “I think that there is something pure about having a close connection to the water. I have it, and I love working with both other people who have it, as well as people who are still trying to find it.”

If her feel for the water was not enough to get her involved with coaching, her leadership skills are another driving force in her new role. Being captain of the Arizona Wildcats for three years in college gave her a taste of leading a team and the necessary skills that she is excited to utilize as head coach.

“Leading a large group of men and women is very challenging but very rewarding,” Geer shared. People, especially swimmers, have different personalities, motivations and backgrounds that require much effort on a day-to-day basis. With the help of the rest of the staff, putting in these efforts and watching them pay off in the form of individual and team success is “so rewarding.”

Geer understands what it takes to have those rewarding moments, with no shortage of accolades herself. Her own swimming career was successful in both yards and meters. At the University of Arizona, she was a 23-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion, as well as the Pac-12 Woman of the Year in 2015. As a member of the United States National Team, she represented Team USA at the 2015 World Championships, 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and 2019 Pan American Games, where she earned gold in the 100-meter freestyle. She was in a strong position heading into this summer to vie for a spot on the United States Olympic Team, but felt the Alabama team needed her more heading into championship season. As a result, she retired from competition, a move that exemplifies her selflessness as a leader and her team first mindset.

As one of just a very few female head coaches in a combined, Division I, Power Five program, Geer’s role is uncommon and her transition to it unique.

“My coming to be in this position is truly a testament to those who came before me,” she said.

5 comments

  1. avatar
    Ed Maas

    Outstanding article Kensey! Strong work Coach Geer! Can’t wait to watch Bama compete this fall/winter!

  2. avatar
    Bill Collin

    She has absolutely no experience (in any profession) and is simply not qualified for this position. Period. Being a good swimmer does not give one the skill set to be a good coach. The hire is insulting to those who have put in the time and dedication to coaching.

    Big gamble on Bama’s part as Coley was/is one of the best in the world.

    • avatar
      Katie

      Margo isn’t just a good swimmer. She’s a natural born leader and motivator. She’s dedicated to anything she does and takes her time in analyzing and working to improve. She’s excellent with people and has never known an enemy. She’s competitive, smart, and is constantly working to learn more and improve. She will make an excellent coach- of this I am sure.

  3. avatar
    Jay

    Great coaches are always seeking great athletes. Great athletes look for great people to coach them. A great person is harder to find than a great coach.

  4. avatar
    John Bishop

    Margo is definitely ready for the helm at Alabama! She has been with Frank Busch -Arizona, David Marsh – L.A., Coley Stickles IU/Alabama, not to mention, volunteering at Ohio state. She has seen how National team coaches handle themselves. The comment from Jay, well first “how about some cheese for your WHINE. Second thanks for pushing her button she responds well to idiot statements.

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