Swimming | Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Shevlin Hired as Head Coach of Willamette Men's and Women's Swimming
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University has hired Leslie Shevlin as the new head coach of the Bearcat men’s and women’s swimming teams. Shevlin has been the assistant women's swimming coach at the University of New Mexico for the past four years. She previously was an assistant coach at Duquesne University.
“She brings a wealth of coaching knowledge and experience,” Director of Athletics Mark Majeski said. “She has served as the primary recruiter at both of her previous institutions and is skilled at finding and enrolling talented student-athletes. She also has worked with the Lobo Aquatics Club at UNM, an age group and masters club program similar to the Bearcat Swim Club in Salem.”
Shevlin will begin working at Willamette on July 15. She replaces Al Stephenson, who has taken a job as the swimming club coach at a new YMCA in Andover, Kan., near Wichita.
“I am very happy to be the new head swimming coach at Willamette University,” Shevlin said. “I am excited to be a head coach for the first time. I am ready to bring my knowledge of swimming and my leadership skills to Willamette. The campus was beautiful and I enjoyed everyone I met while on my interview.”
Shevlin earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2003. She majored in Communication Studies. She received a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Duquesne in 2005.
She was a graduate assistant swimming coach at Duquesne for two seasons. She had a variety of duties, including coordinating road trips, team building and recruiting. She was the primary recruiter for several of Duquesne's top swimmers.
After completing her master's degree, Shevlin was hired as an assistant coach at UNM. She was the main coach for the Lobos' distance freestyle swimmers. She also worked with the head coach to prepare team workouts and was a key recruiter for the New Mexico team.
While working at UNM, she also served as an assistant swimming coach for the Lobo Aquatic Club. She was the primary coach for the 8-and-under age group and also assisted with other age groups as needed. She also was an assistant coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy Summer Camps in 2007 and 2008.
Shevlin said that she looked forward to coaching in the Northwest Conference. Willamette is one of eight NWC members competing in men's and women's swimming.
“The Northwest Conference is a great conference for Division III swimming on both the men's and women's sides.” Shevlin said. “My goal is to bring Willamette into the higher ranks of that conference. I am familiar with the swimming in the area and know that the Pacific Northwest continually turns out great students and athletes. I am ready to recruit in the area and use my past and future contacts to build a strong program.”
She has a plan with three primary areas of focus for developing the Willamette teams. The first goal is to work with and improve Willamette's returning swimmers.
“I need to get to know my current swimmers and first meet their needs and begin getting them more competitive and fit in preparation for a great season,” Shevlin said. “There will be some changes with things like practice … and how we focus mentally for the road ahead, but to be competitive we need to become a team.
"My next focus for rebuilding will be recruiting.” Shevlin added. “I will immediately begin the recruiting process for next year, seeking out swimmers who can be held to the high academic standards of Willamette as well as the high standards I will be setting for the team.
“My third main focus for rebuilding is community outreach,” Shevlin noted. “I know the swimmers would like more support from the Willamette student body and as a team, we also need to reach out to the community for support. Those things will begin once our season starts.”
Shevlin looks forward to being the head coach for the Bearcats. She will be moving to the Salem area with her husband, who is relocating to Oregon from his job in New Mexico.
“I am very excited to become a head coach,” Shevlin said. “I know that it is a difficult task and it will take a lot of hard work and patience to make it work. I have had the good fortune to work with many successful head coaches who have prepared me well. I am excited to take what I have learned as an assistant coach, and as a student-athlete myself, and implement what has become my own coaching style into my own program.”