USC Hires Keith Dawley as Assistant Swimming Coach

Photo Courtesy: USC Athletics
The USC men’s and women’s swim team has hired Keith Dawley to the position of assistant coach, head coach Lea Maurer announced on Monday, July 8.

“We are excited to have Keith joining the USC family. He has experience that will certainly elevate our team in every area, but we are most excited about how he will impact the performances of our student-athletes,” said USC head coach Lea Maurer. “Keith’s knowledge and passion is only out-shined by his inspiring work ethic.”

Dawley has served the last six years at Southern Methodist University, where he assisted the Mustang’s to four-straight conference championships (three American Athletic, one Atlantic Sun). Under head coach Greg Rhodenbaugh, he and his SMU associates were awarded Conference Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. With Dawley on staff, Southern Methodist captured 48 individual and 18 relay titles at the conference championships.

In 2024, SMU had its best performance at the NCAA Championship, finishing 18th, its highest finish since 2008. The Mustangs also captured the Atlantic Sun Championship in 2024, its fourth straight title.

Shortly after Dawley’s arrival in 2018, SMU returned to the top of the conference for the first time since 2013, winning the 2021 American Athletic Conference Championship and sending a swimmer to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2017. The Mustangs followed it up with AAC Championship titles in 2022 and 2023.

Dawley, who served as SMU’s Recruiting Coordinator from 2018-2024, also served as interim head coach for the Mustangs during 2019.

Previously, Dawley was on staff at TCU for a year, where he held the title of Associate Head Coach/Interim Head Coach. There he led the distance group practices while also assisting with the sprint group and helped nearly 85% of the team set personal best times. In his time at TCU, the women’s team moved up nearly 100 points in the overall standings at the Big 12 Championships. They also were runners-up in the 200y medley relay, set ten school records, had 31 All-Big 12 performers, and 15 NCAA “B” cuts.

During the 2016-17 school year, Dawley was an assistant swim coach at Miami University (OH). In his time there, the team excelled, and Dawley played a pivotal role in the following accomplishments: one place improvement for both men’s and women’s teams at MAC Championships, set nine school records, had ten All-MAC performers, had the MAC Freshman of the year, and had 11 NCAA “B” cuts.

From 2015-16, Dawley was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Virginia where he helped coach student-athletes to the following accomplishments: First No. 1 ranking by the CSCAA in school history, ninth consecutive ACC Women’s Championship, two NCAA records, six ACC Championship records, eight UVA school records, four Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifiers, ten ACC Champions, eight individual NCAA “A” cuts, 91 individual NCAA “B” cuts.

From 2014-15, he served as the Interim Head Coach at the University of Houston. He coached the team to a 112-point improvement from 2014 to the 2015 AAC Championships. Here he had one All-Conference performer and four Championship Final qualifiers. He also coached a student-athlete to their first ever spot on the Mexican National Team.

Prior to being the Interim Head Coach at Houston, he was an assistant coach/ recruiting coordinator for the Cougars.

From 2009-13, Dawley served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at East Carolina University. While at ECU, he helped account for 20 school records, 96 All-Time Top Ten swims, and three AAC Championships. He also helped break 15 school records and they had 9 NCAA “B” cuts.

“Keith is an outstanding addition to the USC Swimming and Diving staff. Having worked with him over the past year, I’ve witnessed firsthand his unwavering dedication to coaching excellence and his commitment to his athletes,” said 2024 U.S.A. Olympian Nic Fink. “His steady presence was invaluable during the unpredictability of the college season, and his insightful contributions on deck—ranging from swimming technique to strategic practice and season planning—have been remarkable. I am excited for the future of USC Swimming and Diving knowing Keith is on board.”

Dawley swam for both Indiana University and the University of South Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sport and Entertainment Management from the University of South Carolina in 2009. He is a native of the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Dawley is the newest addition to Maurer’s staff, which also includes assistant coaches Meghan Hawthorne, Kevin Rapien and Brooks Fail as well as 25th year head diving coach Hongping Li 
— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with USC Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact 
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