Bob Bowman, mentor of the world’s most decorated Olympian and two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, was named Arizona State head men’s and women’s swimming coach prior to the 2015-16 season. He earned his third conference Coach of the Year honor in 2016-17, named Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year.
“[The hiring of Bob Bowman] marks a seminal moment in the Sun Devil Swimming program,” Ray Anderson said. “Bob is an icon in this sport and one of the most respected coaches in the industry. Under Bob’s guidance we will compete for individual, conference and national titles, produce All-Americans and Olympians, and create the most expansive developmental swim program in all of collegiate sports. His experience at every level of competition will allow him to grow our swimming program into an elite team and an invaluable community asset.”
Bowman is the third head coach in ASU history to direct both the men and women’s swimming teams, and is the sixth head coach of the men’s program and the seventh of the women’s program.
Bowman is the longtime coach of the most decorated Olympian of all time Michael Phelps and was named the head men’s coach for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He also served as the assistant coach in the previous three Summer Olympics, including 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in London. He was the U.S. men’s head coach at the 2007, 2009 and 2013 FINA World Championships and was an assistant at the 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2011 World Championships. Bowman’s swimmers have set 43 world records and more than 50 American records under his guidance.
“I am very honored and excited to lead the Sun Devil Swimming program,” said Bowman. “The leadership and vision of excellence established under Ray Anderson is impressive, and is matched by the enthusiasm and support of the entire Athletic Department. I look forward to returning to coach at the collegiate level and be part of the great community that Arizona State University has to offer. I am motivated by the opportunity to help develop student-athletes as individuals and I am confident that we can build a swimming program that will be a source of pride for all ASU students, faculty and alumni.”
Bowman is heavily involved in a number of community-driven swim initiatives, including his work with the Michael Phelps Foundation and its signature program – im – that provides underserved children with water safety, recreational aquatic activities, and goal setting programming. The Michael Phelps Foundation, for which Bowman serves as a board member, currently implements the “im” program in 35 Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 29 states as well as 160 teams through the Special Olympics in 34 countries.
A 2010 inductee into the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Hall of Fame, Bowman is a five-time ASCA Coach of the Year and is the most-honored coach in the 40-plus years of the award. He has earned USA Swimming Coach of the Year honors six times, the USA Swimming Foundation’s Golden Goggle Award four times, and was the 2002 USA Swimming Developmental Coach of the Year.
Bowman most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer and Head Coach for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, where he oversaw a number of high-performance swimmers and Olympic medalists. In addition to Phelps, Bowman guided Allison Schmitt to five medals, including three gold, at the 2012 Olympics, and coached 13-time international medalist Conor Dwyer.
The Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Bowman was the head coach for the men’s swimming and diving program at the University of Michigan from 2005-08. He led the Wolverines to a top-eight finish nationally in all four years at UM, including sixth in 2005 and 2008, and guided them to the 2008 Big Ten Conference title. He coached three swimmers to six NCAA individual titles and put together a 30-8-1 record in dual meets, including a 21-1-1 mark against conference opponents.
A native of Columbia, S.C., Bowman graduated from Florida State with a Bachelor of Science degree in developmental psychology and a minor in music composition in 1987. He swam for the Seminoles from 1983-85 and was a team captain in his final season.