Via Fundraising Goals, La Salle Offers ‘Pathway to Restore’ Men’s Swimming

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La Salle's University's Kirk Natatorium; Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@saveLSU_swimanddive

The La Salle men’s swimming and diving team, which was slated to be discontinued at end of this academic year, has been granted “a pathway to restore” the program, according to a letter to alumni.

The letter, shared with Swimming World, cites a “positive and productive dialogue” with La Salle president Colleen Hanycz, athletic director Brian Baptiste and Board of Trustees chair Bill Matthews. It lays out a plan for the reinstatement of the program contingent on short- and long-term fundraising objectives.

“The La Salle swimming & diving community has shown great passion, pride, and a commitment to the men’s program,” Baptiste said in the letter. “The willingness of the group to lead this effort shows a drive and determination to preserve the program. It may serve as an example for similar groups across the country, of the engagement needed to ensure sustainable, championship experiences for the sport of swimming.”

La Salle men’s swimming was cut in September, one of seven programs cut by the school, citing budget concerns. Men’s water polo was also cut, though women’s swimming and diving was spared at the time.

Given the financial challenges, La Salle sought to rally its swimming alumni base to raise funds to make the program sustainable. The alumni group is aiming to raise $300,000 to cover operating expenses through 2024 to provide the La Salle athletic department “immediate fiscal relief.” The longer-term goal is to create a $2.3 million endowment to cover team operating costs in perpetuity.

The alumni group has already raised $500,000 in pledges and hopes to secure the total amount by April 21, 2021.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Brian,” said Greg Earhart, executive director of the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). “When faced with a difficult decision, we often see leaders make short-term cuts that have long-lasting impacts. Worse, many lack the humility to even consider solutions. Brian took the time to listen, asked difficult questions, and ultimately, see the opportunities instead of obstacles.”

“Few programs get a second chance at life like this,” former La Salle head coach and current executive director of Middle Atlantic Swimming Jamie Platt said. “Fewer still get the opportunity to control their destiny so it is important for us to deliver on this commitment.”

To make a pledge, visit www.savelasalleswimminganddiving.com. The alumni network can also reach out directly to savelasalleswimanddive@gmail.com or to any of its designated decade alumni captains – George Haggerty for the 1950s; Ralph Ehinger 1970s; Royal Cole 1980s; Dan Morrissy 1990s; Sean Connors-McBride 2000s; Cameron Cabrera 2010s. You can also follow the campaign on Instagram, @savelsu_swimanddive.