Legendary Michigan Coach Mike Bottom to Retire; Captured NCAA Title and Guided Numerous Olympians

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Legendary Michigan Coach Mike Bottom to Retire

Mike Bottom, Michigan’s long-time swimming and diving head coach, will retire effective Aug. 4, the school announced on Wednesday.

Bottom is the head coach of the men’s and women’s teams in Ann Arbor. He will continue to lead the programs through the summer championship season while a coach for a replacement is undertaken.

“Following my 15th year leading Michigan teams and over 30 years of collegiate coaching, my excitement moves to cheering on future success,” Bottom said in a university release. “In the coming weeks, I will enjoy being part of our summer national and international pursuits. I am excited to pass the helm to a fresh new leader who will win championships and mentor champions. I am so grateful for the leadership of Warde Manuel and Rob Rademacher over these past years and the growth partnerships that I’ve enjoyed with so many coaches and staff members. Go Blue!”

Bottom took over as the men’s coach 15 years ago and has led both programs for the last 11 seasons when they merged. He’s a nine-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. He’s compiled a 111-13-1 record with the men’s team, including 67-9 in the Big Ten, plus a 74-19 mark (49-9 Big Ten) record with the women. He’s coached nine national champions, and 140 Big Ten individual and relay champions.

Bottom’s high-water mark was the 2013 NCAA Championships, when he led the Wolverines to the men’s team championship. He won nine Big Ten championships with the men and three with the women.

Bottom has coached at each of the last six Olympic Games.

“Today, Mike Bottom informed us that he plans to retire from full-time coaching,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. “An Olympic caliber coach, Mike sustained Michigan’s legacy of success in the pool for many years and will always be remembered for stewarding great success in men’s and women’s swimming and capturing the 2013 men’s national championship. I deeply appreciate his passion for the sport, his love of U-M, and his willingness to continue leading the program while we search for his replacement.”

Bottom was an accomplished swimmer in his day, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 1980. His dreams of competing under the Olympic rings, though, were dashed by the U.S.’s boycott of those games. Bottom would go on to coach more than 50 Olympians, first in his work with the University of California Berkeley and with the Race Club in Phoenix before arriving in Michigan. He helped foster some of the most legendary sprinters in the sport, including Gary Hall Jr., Anthony Ervin, Nathan Adrian, Dudge Draganja and later Maggie MacNeil.

He began coaching at Michigan in 2008, embracing the program’s renowned distance focus with swimmers like Connor Jaeger and Tyler Clary.

Bottom graduated from the University of Southern California in 1978 and received a master’s degree at Auburn in 1993.

Bottom began his coaching career in the early 1990s, as an assistant coach for David Marsh at Auburn’s men’s and women’s teams, after 10 years in the business world. He moved to his alma mater, USC, for four seasons as an assistant before spending 10 seasons at the University of California from 1997-2007 as the co-head coach with Nort Thornton.

He was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics and coached the U.S. men’s team at the 2013 and 2015 World University Games. He was an assistant coach at two Worlds teams for the U.S.

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Chris Breedy
Chris Breedy
1 year ago

Congrats Coach! Have fun this summer😍

1 year ago

My only hope for you is that in retirement you can have a similar breadth of different significant experiences with people as you have had since your high school years. Best wishes, Mike.

Chuck Kroll
Chuck Kroll
1 year ago

Very cool pool. Very classy individual. Terrific Coach. And one of the finest heads of hair in the world of swimming. Cheers, Michael

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