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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Coach Kotch: the new man at the helm

Published: September 9, 2011
Section: Sports

During the summer Brandeis named Mike Kotch the new head coach of the recently reinstated swimming and diving team. He will lead the program, which in a state of flux, as Brandeis begins repairs on the pool’s mechanical problems, which forced the team to alternate practices between facilities at Weston College and Bentley University the past two seasons.

“I believe my passion for swimming comes from my family where I became immersed in the sport and grew to love being around the pool deck,” Kotch said. “My favorite stroke as a swimmer is freestyle, but as a coach I prefer the Individual Medley since it allows me to teach all four strokes [butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle].”

Kotch, whose hiring was officially announced July 11, 2011, previously served as the head coach of the swimming and diving team at nearby Regis College. “I actively pursued the job after the former coach, Jim Zotz, who I am friends with, informed me of its availability,” Kotch said.

“I’m really looking forward to tackling the challenges and restoring this program to prominence and continuing its 40 years of excellence,” Kotch said.

With reparations on the pool just beginning, Kotch will spend a sizable portion of his time this year “actively recruiting students from high school and club teams.” When asked about his plans for recruitment, Coach Kotch responded, “My initial recruiting efforts will be focused in the New England area but I am willing to look outside New England if the right opportunity presents itself.

“In order to be a successful program, we have to be able to recruit first and foremost from our own area,” Kotch explained.

Coach Kotch added, “Recruiting efforts do not require as much travel as other sports, as club and high school teams post times and video of potential recruits on their websites.”

Coach Kotch holds two degrees from Bentley University: a B.S. in accounting he received in 1998 and an M.B.A. that he received in 2004. He served as the assistant coach of Bentley’s swimming and diving team from 2002-08, heading their recruiting efforts, which included two Division II All-Americans, on the way to 11 NEISDA (New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association) championships between both the men’s and women’s teams.

Following his tenure as the assistant coach at Bentley, Kotch served as the head coach of the swimming and diving team at Regis College. During his time at Regis, Coach Kotch developed 19 school-record holders and built the men’s team up from just two swimmers in the 2007 season. During his time at Regis College, Coach Kotch actively assisted the Brandeis program during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons when the Judges were forced to alternate practices between Weston College and across town at Bentley University while the Judges dealt with mechanical issues with the pool.

The repairs on the pool are currently on schedule. Coach Kotch estimates that barring any unforeseen complications, the pool will officially reopen to the student body in January 2012 for the start of the spring semester. The varsity swimming and diving team will officially begin competing in the 2012 season.