Peter Linn Retires as Eastern Michigan Swimming Coach

Peter Linn will retire as Eastern Michigan coach. Photo Courtesy: Eastern Michigan Athletics

Eastern Michigan University Head Swimming & Diving Coach Peter Linn one of the longest tenured coaches in the history of intercollegiate athletics at EMU, has announced his retirement effective Aug. 16, 2019.

For 31 years, Linn has been extolling wisdom and winning championships at Eastern Michigan. Taking over for his mentor Mike Jones beginning with the 1988-89 season, Linn guided the men’s program to 24 Mid-American Conference Championships, including eight in-a-row from 1988-1996. He added oversight of the women’s program in 2004-05, leading them to a pair of MAC championships and five runner-up showings.

“It has been an adventure of a lifetime to work with the many coaches and student-athletes that have come through EMU,” Linn said. “My time here has brought me experiences that I will treasure  always. I cannot express how much I will miss coaching these student-athletes and sharing the deck with Buck (Smith) and Tracy (Martin).”

The third-longest tenured head coach in EMU history behind former track & field coach Bob Parks (33 years) and women’s gymnastics’ Steve Wilce (32 years), Linn nurtured the careers of hundreds of student-athletes.

Eastern Michigan captured a combined 299 individual MAC Championships (254 men, 45 women) in Linn’s tenure. Overall, he was named MAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year eight times, while coaching 13 MAC Men’s Swimmers of the Year and six MAC Male Senior Swimmers of the Year. Furthermore, he was named MAC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year twice and coached five MAC Women’s Swimmers of the Year.

“Peter has been a devoted staff member of this department for a long time, and I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for EMU Athletics and the swimming community,” said EMU Vice President/Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee. “He has always put the student-athletes first, making lasting impacts on countless people associated with our swimming & diving program. We thank Peter for the way in which he represented EMU with class.”

Under Linn’s leadership, the men’s swimming & diving team posted a 204-63 dual meet record (.764 winning percentage) and a dominant 119-7 mark against MAC opponents (.944 winning percentage). For more than 19 seasons, the Eagles did not lose a MAC dual meet as the streak grew to as many as 72 before it was snapped during the 2016-17 campaign. Furthermore,  EMU currently holds the league’s all-time record in 10 of the MAC’s 22 regular season events and 11 of the MAC Championship records.

On the women’s side, Linn took over for the 2004-05 season and led the Eagles to a 104-38-1 mark (.731 winning percentage) and a 62-23 conference tally in 15 seasons. He was selected 2006 MAC Women’s Coach of the Year when he helped EMU to the program’s first MAC title in 2006. A year later saw the Eagles capture the 2007 conference championship, making Linn the only coach in MAC history to win both men’s and women’s team championships in the same year.

In 2018-19, Linn coached one of the most successful swimmers to ever don the Green and White, Delaney Duncan. A four-time MAC 100 Breast champion, Duncan was a two-time First Team All-American as well as a two-time All-American Honorable Mention. As a senior, she became the first four-time NCAA qualifier in program history in addition to being named the MAC’s Outstanding Swimmer of the Year and the conference’s most outstanding senior. A four-time First Team All-MAC selection, Duncan closed out her career with a runner-up finish in the 100 Breast at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish in program history.

In May 2018, Linn was awarded the National Collegiate and Scholastic Trophy from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). The trophy is the highest honor from the organization, and is presented annually to an individual or organization, which in the estimation of the recipient’s peers, has contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and healthful recreational activity.

Linn’s history with Eastern started much earlier, however, as a swimmer helping the Eagles to a pair of NAIA team titles in 1970 and 1971 and the 1972 NCAA Division II National Championship.

Linn returned to EMU in 1988 after leading Upper Arlington (Ohio) High School to three consecutive state championships, along with six straight district titles, while developing 32 individual district champions and eight individual state champions. He was also president of the Ohio High School Swimming Coaches Association in 1987-88. He was named Coach of the Year in the Ohio prep ranks in 1985, 1986, and 1987.

Prior to taking over at Upper Arlington, Linn coached at Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School from 1976-82 where he led the swimmers to their first league championship in 20 years. He was named Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1982. In 2002, Linn was elected to the Ohio High School Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame.

Linn attended Eastern Michigan University from 1969-74 and received a bachelor’s of science degree with a double major in mathematics and biology. He was inducted into the E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2006.

A national search will be conducted for the program’s ninth head coach.

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