Rick DeMont spent two years as a UA swimmer, and the last 25 as one of the most respected assistant coaches in the sport.
It took less than a month for Arizona’s administration to make him the Wildcats’ permanent head coach.
DeMont was officially promoted Tuesday, 15 days after Eric Hansen resigned for personal reasons. DeMont had been in charge of the program since Hansen took leave more than three months ago.
“It’s an honor to be named the head swimming and diving coach of such a prestigious program,” DeMont, 57, said in a news release.
“I’ve been completely invested in Arizona swimming since I came here in 1977 to finish my college career. I want to thank (athletic director) Greg Byrne for giving me this opportunity.
“This is one of the top programs in the country and has been for a number of years, and I’m looking forward to the future success I believe we can achieve.”
DeMont is no stranger to success. As a college swimmer, he was a four-year All-American, splitting his time between Washington (1973-75) and the UA (1977-79). As a UA assistant, DeMont coached 22 U.S. Swimming and NCAA individual national champions.
And as a longtime Tucsonan, DeMont is invested in the community. His wife, Carrie, owns the DeMont Family Swim School. He is an accomplished painter, but he told the Star’s Greg Hansen last week that his art was on hold because of his added duties as a coach.
Byrne opened the job to national applicants when Hansen resigned. It didn’t take long to decide the man everyone calls “Rocket” was the best fit.
“We’re extremely pleased to have someone with Rick DeMont’s credentials involved in our swimming and diving program,” Byrne said in a release. “Rick has been a dedicated Wildcat for over a quarter of a century, and he’s earned the opportunity to lead our program.
“His résumé speaks for itself, and we know he’ll continue to build on the rich tradition of Arizona swimming.”