Yale women’s swimming and diving head coach Jim Henry was named the new head coach of the men’s program on Wednesday afternoon, replacing former men’s head coach Tim Wise following his resignation.
Next season will mark the first time in seven years that the Yale men’s and women’s programs have been united under a single head coach. Frank Keefe, the namesake of the Ivy League women’s swimming championship trophy, led both teams from the 1980–81 until the 2009–10 seasons.
“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to lead both teams,” Henry said in an athletic department press release. “I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence in the classroom and pool at one of the best universities in the world. I believe that by working together we can achieve our goals of graduating the leaders of tomorrow.”
Henry has served as the head coach of the women’s program for five years, replacing Cristina Teuscher prior to the 2012–13 season. During his tenure in New Haven, he has turned the Eli squad into an Ivy League powerhouse, taking the team from a 3–4 Ivy record in 2011–12 to an undefeated record and conference title this past year — the team’s first since 1997. For his efforts, Henry earned Ivy League Coach of the Year honors in 2017.
Henry has received high praise from members of the women’s team who have already swum under him. Destiny Nelson ’19 lauded Henry’s enthusiasm and dedication to the Yale program.
“Phenomenal would be an understatement in regards to Coach Henry,” said Nelson, who transferred from the University of Southern California before the 2016–17 season to swim under Henry. “His passion and love for not only the sport, but all of his athletes, is very rare and hard to come by. … I could not think of anyone who is more qualified or with more experience to take on this position. I have the utmost faith in the future of Yale swimming with Jim Henry at the helm.”
Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Henry was an assistant at the University of Texas — his alma mater — for five seasons and the associate head coach for one. As a coach, Henry helped the Texas women’s team to three Big 12 titles. Before that, he headed both the men’s and women’s programs at the University of Denver, where he was named Sun Belt Female Head Coach of the Year and Male Head Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
According to multiple swimmers, the men’s team is excited about Henry’s new role and expressed confidence in the coach’s ability to improve results in the pool.
“I’ve had the privilege of being on Yale’s swim team while coach Jim Henry led the women to become Ivy League champions,” Kei Hyogo ’18 said. “While any sort of transitions take time getting used to, I have no doubt that Jim will lead the men’s team to equally impressive results. We are definitely privileged to have him as our new coach.”
Wise resigned as head coach of the men’s program on April 18 after seven seasons at the helm. He left the program after a season that saw the Bulldogs earn a 10–2 dual meet record but finish a disappointing fourth at the Ivy League championships. Neither Wise nor Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett provided a reason for the coach’s departure.
Regardless, Henry’s new leadership on the pool deck has excited the Elis.
“Jim is experienced and determined, but more importantly he is one of the kindest people I have ever met,” Jonathan Rutter ’18 said. “We are extremely privileged to have him as our new coach.”
With his hiring, Henry becomes the ninth head coach in the history of the Yale men’s swimming and diving program, which was founded in 1899.
Nate Repensky contributed reporting.