Hawaii hires Boston College’s Mike Stephens as new head coach
The University of Hawaii has hired mike stephens as the new Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach. Stephens comes to the program from Boston College, where he coached for nine seasons, including the last five as head coach.
Stephens replaces Elliot Ptasnikwho was quietly removed from his post after months of uncertainty and absence from the bridge.
In Stephens’ five seasons as head coach at Boston College, the Eagles set more than 170 school records, including 18 at the 2022 ACC Championships alone. The BC women finished 12th on 12 teams and the men of BC finished 11th out of 12 teams (ahead of Miami’s all-dive team) in a very competitive ACC, but the Eagles entered this conference without any purse, putting them in big disadvantage against their competitors.
In 2021, Junior Eagles Haley Dolan became the first Eagles swimmer to advance to an individual event final at the ACC Championships in 14 years. She was also their first ACC individual scorer in 6 years.
Two weeks ago in Atlanta, 6 individual athletes qualified for the finals and 3 others scored in the mile (which is a timed final).
Its student-athletes have earned 29 NCAA consideration times and zone diving scores, while three swimmers have qualified for the 2021 Olympic Trials. The trio were the first women from Boston College to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Stephens also recently served as an assistant coach for the Barbados national swimming team, coaching Alex Sobers at the Tokyo Olympics.
Stephens will try to bring stability to a Hawaiian program that ran out last season with Marcus Guttmann as interim head coach.
Ptasnik took over the program in the summer of 2019 when Dan Schemmel was hired by Stanford to lead the men’s team. He maintained the program’s success, leading both the men’s and women’s teams to MPSF conference titles in 2020. For the men, that included a conference-record 895.50 points.
The women won again in 2021, while the men fell to BYU. This extended the women’s title streak to 5.
In Guttmann’s middle year, the Hawaii women finished 2nd, with UCSD breaking the streak by a narrow 12.5 points. The Hawaii men slipped to 3rd place.
When Stephens was named head coach of Boston College at just 26 years old, he became one of the youngest NCAA Division I head coaches of the modern era. As he will have to do in Hawaii, Stephens cast a wide recruiting net at British Columbia: The 2021-2022 roster featured athletes from more than two dozen states, including Hawaii (freshman Noah Peters).
Boston College is his only coaching job and he also swam for the program as a student. He set the school record in the 200 medley relay and placed in the top five all-time in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Stephens received the Pawlak Award for Special Recognition in 2012 and the Conway Award for Outstanding Sophomore Swimmer in 2010. He also received the Athletic Department Leadership Award in 2011.
He earned a degree in finance in 2012 from Boston College and completed an MBA in 2016 with a focus on leadership in higher education and developmental psychology.