UNLV Head Coach Jim Reitz Announces Retirement


LAS VEGAS – UNLV men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach Jim Reitz, who at 35 seasons was the longest-tenured coach in Rebel athletics history, announced his retirement on Tuesday, to be effective at the end of June.

“Without a doubt we are losing not only an outstanding coach, but also an icon with Jim Reitz’s retirement,” said UNLV Director of Athletics Tina Kunzer-Murphy. “Jim has built our swim program almost from the ground floor into one of the top programs on the West Coast, and the entire Rebel family will always appreciate the accomplishments and the outstanding student-athletes that came through the program in his time as our head coach.”

“UNLV was my first and only collegiate coaching position and I just felt that now was the right time to retire,” said Reitz. “I truly enjoyed my run here and working with these kids over the years. I will always cherish my time at UNLV as I’ve seen it turn into a premier academic institution over the years. I will miss watching the kids grow in the program as that is really the best part of coaching.”

I am thankful to numerous people during my career here and wish the program the very best for continued success in the future. I greatly appreciate the ongoing support and leadership of our Athletic Director, Tina Kunzer-Murphy, and also Brad Rothermel, who gave me a chance 35 years ago to be the head coach.”

Reitz, who first took over the reigns of the UNLV swimming program in the 1980-81 season, steadily built the Rebels into one of the most successful squads on campus. The final tally after his 35 years includes: 14 conference championships (highlighted by a run of 10 titles in the last 11 years by the men’s program), 29 combined conference Most Valuable Swimmers, 16 combined conference Coach of the Year honors, and 17 combined all-time top-30 team finishes at the NCAA Championships.

The Rebels have seen their greatest success over the past 11 years. In addition to the men’s team’s conference championship streak, the Rebel women also claimed the 2005 Mountain West title. UNLV is coming off a third-straight top-30 finish at this year’s NCAA Men’s Championships, and it was the Rebels’ fifth top-30 finish in the past six years. That includes a pair of 19th-place finishes in 2011 and 2014, the highest in school history.

While Reitz not only coached a total of 42 Rebels to All-American status between the men’s and women’s programs, UNLV was also well-represented internationally over his time guiding the program, both at the Olympic Games as well as other international competitions. Reitz also stressed academic success for the Rebels, and his teams saw a near perfect graduation rate while consistently were awarded with CSCAA (College Swimming Coaches Association of America) Team Academic honors.

A native of Seattle, Wash., Reitz coached 15 years before coming to UNLV. He coached at both Cascade and Seattle Swim clubs and was head of the physical education departments at Shorewood High School in Seattle. He moved to Las Vegas in 1976 and began coaching the Sandpiper Swim Team before taking over the reigns of the Rebel programs four years later.

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