Russell Whitaker Hired as Washington State Swimming Coach

Photo Courtesy: Washington State Athletics

Washington State University Athletics has tabbed Russell Whitaker to lead the Cougars’ Women’s Swimming program, Interim Director of Athletics Anne McCoy announced Thursday.

Whitaker has worked the past seven seasons as the Director of Operations and added assistant coach duties this past season. Since coming to WSU in 2017, Whitaker has been on staffs who have produced seven NCAA selections, four Top-3 finishers at the Pac-12 Conference Championships and one Pac-12 individual champion.

“We couldn’t be happier to name Russ Whitaker the new women’s swimming head coach at Washington State University,” said McCoy. “Russ has been an incredibly important part of the success our team has had over the past seven seasons. Since joining WSU in fall 2017, he has worked with every aspect of WSU’s swim program, in addition to being involved with the sport locally and nationally through USA Swimming. With Russ’ unbridled enthusiasm, his commitment to student-athlete success in and out of the pool, and the respect he’s earned from everyone around him including current and former student-athletes, the future of Cougar Swimming is bright.”

This past season, Whitaker helped a pair of Cougar swimmers earn spots in the NCAA Championships, saw Emily Lundgren medal twice at the Pac-12 Championships and later became WSU’s first All-American since 2007. Additionally, Lundgren was also named an Academic All-American, four swimmers earned CSC Academic All-District honors and 16 were named to the Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll.

“I am honored and humbled to begin the journey as the next Head Coach of Washington State University Swimming,” said Russell Whitaker. “I would like to thank President Kirk Schulz, Interim Director of Athletics Anne McCoy, and Deputy Director of Athletics Brad Corbin for entrusting this program to me and my vision for its future. Our work as a program begins now to build on our prior successes and continue to build momentum going into this new era of WSU Swimming. I look forward to finding individuals who are ready and eager to come to WSU and be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

Over the last six years, Whitaker has also served as the head club coach for Cougar Aquatics where he produced athletes who have qualified for local championships, Senior & Age Group Zones, Sectionals, Futures, Winter & Summer Junior Nationals, TYR Pro Swim Series, Winter National Qualifiers and U.S. Olympic Trials. Cougar Aquatics has also produced four Scholar All-Americans and one swimmer selected to attend the prestigious 2022 National Select Camp.

For his extensive work at the local and national level, Russell Whitaker was recognized as the Inland Empire Swimming coach of the year in 2022. He also served on the USA Swimming National Select Camp staff for the 2022 women’s team as the Assistant Manager and was the Manager for the boy’s (13-16) team in 2023 where he worked alongside some of the top swimmers and coaches across the country. Russell is a member of the American Swim Coaches Association where he is currently a Performance Level 4 certified coach – placing him within the top 10% of coaches in the country.

Whitaker graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and earned his Master’s in Athletic Administration from Ohio University in 2020.

Russell Whitaker and his wife, Hanna reside in Pullman.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Washington State Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact 

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Debbie Whitaker
Debbie Whitaker
11 days ago

Congrats! Exciting news and a great choice!

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