Long reflects on Iowa swimming and diving coaching career

After announcing he won’t return as head coach of Iowa swim and dive, Marc Long looks back on 17 seasons at the helm.


Ryan Adams

Iowa Head Coach Marc Long gives a speech to his swimmers after a swim meet at the CRWC on January 11, 2020 between Iowa, Illinois, and Notre Dame. The Hawkeye men’s team defeated the fighting Irish 159.50 to 140.50 while the Hawkeye women’s team defeated the fighting Illini 223 to 86 and lost to the fighting Irish 99.50 to 209.50.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Marc Long announced Tuesday that his decorated run as head coach of the Iowa swimming and diving program had come to an end.

In a release, Long announced that, after 17 years leading the Hawkeyes — 16 at the helm of both the men’s and women’s swim and dive teams — he would not return next season to coach the reinstated women’s team. Men’s swimming is one of three sports to be discontinued at Iowa after this season.

Long, a former All-American swimmer at Iowa, told The Daily Iowan that making the decision was best for him and his family now.

“My focus right now is going to be on my family,” Long said. “They’ve sacrificed a lot, especially this past year, but throughout my career.”

Long explained that it can be difficult to balance family life and coaching.

“[Coaching] is just hard,” Long said. “It’s not a complaint, it’s just a reality. It’s so immersive. It’s emotional, and it’s intense on the family at times. When you get home, it just doesn’t turn off. That’s when you’re making calls and so on. My family has been incredible through all of this. I can’t say enough how supportive they’ve been. [I’m] looking forward to spending some more quality time with them.”

The past season was quite likely the busiest of Long’s career.

Although he only coached five regular season meets before ending the season with his teams at the Big Ten Championships, Long was fielding calls from other coaches inquiring about his swimmers.

Many of Iowa’s men’s swimmers and divers who aren’t graduating this year will transfer to other schools, after the athletic department announced in August that men’s swimming would be discontinued after the school year ended.

The women’s swimming and diving team was also on that list until February, when a Title IX lawsuit prompted the UI to reverse its decision. Despite Iowa reinstating the sport for the 2021-22 season, several women’s athletes plan to transfer, too.

Long expressed gratitude to everybody involved in the Iowa swimming and diving program for doing their best, despite an obstacle-filled year as well as throughout his Hawkeye career.

“I’m so proud of the athletes and the staff,” Long said. “Not just this year, I mean this year is special, they bonded through really tough situations, but throughout my career and my time as an athlete. I’ll always be loyal to those athletes, both as teammates and alum and staff.”

Long’s coaching record was impressive. In his run since the 2004-05 season, he has helped his athletes to 27 All-American honors, including 12 since the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

This season’s All-Americans have not yet been announced.

His athletes’ performances aren’t what Long will remember most about serving as head coach at his alma mater. Instead, he’ll remember the people he worked with both on and off the pool deck.

RELATED: Marc Long declines opportunity to coach Iowa swim and dive in 2021-22

Apart from head swimming and diving coach, Long also helped develop and found the Hawkeye Health C.A.R.E program, now referred to as Hawks to Professionals (HTP). HTP is a job shadowing and mentoring program available to all UI student-athletes.

Long also established the Hawkeye Business Social — a professional development and networking event available to Iowa swimmers and divers.

“I’m most proud of the people I’ve gotten to work with, with the athletes, and the coaches and the staff that work directly with us,” Long said. “That’s the most rewarding part of the job, interacting with the people.”