Joe Dykstra has been hired as the new head men's and women's swimming and diving coach at the University of Utah, Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill announced today. Dykstra, the 2013 Sun Belt Conference co-Coach of the Year, has spent the past seven years as the head women's coach at the University of North Texas.
Dykstra also brings a familiarity with the Pac-12 Conference to his new post, having spent six years as the associate head men's and women's coach at Washington from 2001-06 before going to North Texas. In 1999 and 2000, he was a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee.
"We had some very good candidates apply for our position and we are very pleased that our top choice accepted the job," said Hill. "Joe's teams have succeeded in the pool and in the classroom, and his vision for the program matches our University's."
"I couldn't be more excited to join the Utah program," said Dykstra. "To be able to lead a coed program in the Pac-12 Conference is a tremendous honor. Utah has limitless potential and I am looking forward to building on its recent success and taking this program to new heights. I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Hill and (senior associate athletics director) Kyle Brennan for giving me this opportunity."
Dykstra will be responsible for Utah's recruiting effort in Northern California, Nevada and Texas.
Dykstra guided North Texas to a runner-up finish at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championships--the best finish in school history. The Mean Green achieved a No. 4 final ranking in the 2013 CollegeSwimming.com mid-major poll for the highest ranking in school history.
Dykstra, who was also the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2008, led the program to four consecutive third-place finishes from 2009-12, before moving up to second place this past season.
The Mean Green set several school records during his tenure at the school and also performed well in the classroom. His team received College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America status every semester from 2007-12. Last fall, the team posted a 3.62 team GPA, the highest among all NCAA Division I swimming and diving teams.
Dykstra has also experienced success on a national level. Last month, Kimmy Phillips became the first swimmer in North Texas' 15-year history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. As an associate coach at Washington, he helped the Huskies to 19th and 25th-place finishes at the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Championships. Tennessee finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships both years of his graduate assistantship, during which time he also assisted in coaching an Olympic gold medal winner and a world record holder.
Dykstra received a bachelor's degree in zoology from Washington in 1998 after a four-year swimming career. He was named UW's Most Valuable Freshman and was the team's Most Improved Swimmer as a sophomore. He captained the team as a senior in 1997-98. A Pac-10 All-Academic team member as a senior, he finished his career in the all-time top 10 at UW in five events. He later earned a master's degree in human performance and sport studies from Tennessee in 1999.