Wildcats face Badgers Friday, welcome UIC and North Dakota Saturday
After completing his 20th season at the helm of the Northwestern men's swimming program in 2008-09, head coach Bob Groseth announced his retirement from the position effective Sept. 1, 2009, to become the interim Executive Director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) while remaining a volunteer assistant coach with the program. Groseth leaves the Wildcats in the midst of a golden age of swimming at the school. NU finished in the top-12 or better in the nation every year from 2004-08, winning five NCAA titles and 30 Big Ten Championships in that time frame.
Northwestern has become one of the most exciting programs on the national stage, enjoying success unparalled since the Wildcats earned a quartet of national championships in the 1920's and '30's. NU finished sixth in the nation in 2007, its best showing in the modern era of the program.
A three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2002, 2005 and 2007, Groseth began his coaching duties at Northwestern in 1989, taking over a team that finished last in the Big Ten in each of the 11 seasons prior to his arrival. During his tenure Groseth has built the Wildcats into a contender, finishing in the upper half of the conference in seven-consecutive years from 2001-07, including a third-place effort in 2004.
Groseth was named the NCAA Co-Coach of the Year in 2005 in the midst of an on-going string of nine-straight NCAA appearances from 2001-09. Overall, he led Northwestern to 12 NCAA Championships berths -- all since 1995. In fact, only twice after that year have the Wildcats failed to place a swimmer in the NCAA meet under Groseth.
Perhaps Groseth's best coaching campaign came in 2008 when the Wildcats proved outside prognosticators wrong with a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Following the graduations of future 2008 Olympians Matt Grevers and Mike Alexandrov in 2007, conventional wisdom said Northwestern could not keep up its current pace, but the 'Cats' four-man NCAA contingent placed just one spot behind 15-man Minnesota at the national meet, winning 13 All-America accolades.
In 2007, Northwestern won three NCAA Championships, set two NCAA records and finished in sixth place as a team to record the best finish for the Wildcats in the modern era. At the Big Ten Championships, Northwestern won 10 individual conference titles, nearly double the total of its next competitor. Groseth was named 2007 Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
In 2006, all four of Northwestern's participating relays at the NCAA Championships qualified for the championship heats for the first time ever to lead the Wildcats to a 10th-place team finish, and Grevers won his second-straight NCAA title in the 100 back.
Northwestern has earned 71 All-America honors under Groseth, comprised of 51 individual and 20 relay awards. In 2005, Grevers won the national title in the 100 back, and Mike Alexandrov picked up a silver and bronze medal in the two breaststroke events -- NU's first NCAA medals since 1958. Since 2005, NU has eight NCAA Championship gold medals (four individual and one relay crown).
Groseth's team broke a 32-year drought without a Big Ten champion from Northwestern when Steve Steketee won the 200 freestyle title in 1998. From that point on, Groseth's Wildcats won 36 event crowns in the next 11 years, including 30 in a five-year span from 2004-08. He has coached every single first-team All-Big Ten performer in program history (an award first given in 1984), with 14 swimmers earning 26 honors under his tutelage.
In 2005 alone the 'Cats produced seven Big Ten champions -- the most of any conference school. In addition to four individual titles, NU's 200 free and 400 medley relays set Big Ten records en route to championships, while the 200 medley relay also earned a title.
The Wildcats repeated that feat in 2006, this time getting individual titles in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 back from Grevers, a crown in the 100 fly from Kyle Bubolz and a gold in the 200 breast from Alexandrov. In the relays, the 'Cats captured titles in the 200 free and 400 medley to make it a total of seven for the second-straight year.
In 2007, Northwestern blew away that total with 10 Big Ten championships, nearly doubling the total of the next-best school (Michigan with six).
In 35 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Groseth has produced more than 65 swimmers who have participated at the NCAA Championships, including world record-setter Scott McCadam, World Games gold medalist Eric Hansen, four-time World Games medalist Grevers and NCAA record holders Grevers, Alexandrov, Bruno Barbic and Kyle Bubolz.
Groseth has long been a respected coach on the national level. In 1992, he instructed some of the nation's top distance swimmers at the U.S. national distance camp. In 1993, he took the U.S. Junior National Team to compete in Paris, France, and in 2007 was an assistant coach with the USA's World University Games team.
Groseth has been honored multiple times by his peers for his coaching acumen. He received the Richard E. Steadman Award after the 2001-02 season from the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). He was the recipient of the American Swimming Coaches Association "Bob Ousley" Award for contributions to the sport in 2003 and won the John Newman Award for contributions to Illinois Swimming in 2008.
Prior to coming to Northwestern, Groseth coached 10 seasons at Iowa State University, compiling a 46-42 dual-meet record. Under his tutelage, 16 Cyclone swimmers combined to win 41 Big Eight Conference championships. Groseth twice earned Big Eight Coach of the Year accolades.
Groseth began his coaching career in 1974 at Cincinnati, where he compiled a 21-9 record in three seasons. In 1977, he left for Tulane, where he led the Green Wave to a 4-6 dual-meet mark and second place at the Metro Seven Championship.
A Hinsdale, Ill., native, Groseth attended Hinsdale Township High School before enrolling at Indiana University, where he served as a student-assistant coach.
Groseth accepted his first coaching position at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., where his teams won seven consecutive Catholic League titles in addition to four National Catholic Championships. During his stay at Fenwick, Groseth produced 28 All-America swimmers. In 1982, he was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame.
Groseth earned bachelor's degrees in history and physical education from Indiana in 1967. He resides in Evanston.