Ashland University Director of Athletics Al King announced on Thursday (Sept. 15) morning the hire of Ron Allen as the Eagles' men's and women's swimming and diving head coach.
"Ron stands out for several reasons," King said. "He's a veteran coach who knows how to build an all-around program – a program that excels in the pool, in the classroom and in the community. That's what Ashland University swimming has been in the past, and the goal is to continue that. Ron is regarded as an exceptional teacher, and he's demonstrated that he knows how to get the best out of his student-athletes. Finally, everyone I spoke to about Ron mentioned his ability to recruit. He's outstanding on the recruiting trail.
"We conducted a complete and exhaustive search. We had applicants from all over the country and from all levels of collegiate swimming and diving. Four candidates were brought to campus, and they were all outstanding. It's been a long time since we conducted a search and had as talented a group as we had with this list of candidates."
Allen has an extensive history as an NCAA Division II head swimming and diving coach, most recently at Colorado Mesa from 2012-16, where his teams broke 102 program records. At Mesa, Allen coached 22 CSCAA Individual Scholar All-Americans, eight All-Americans and 18 honorable mention All-Americans, his squads boasted the highest individual national placer (second) and team placer (men, 20th) in school history and he was a two-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Men's Swimming Coach of the Year (2013-14).
Allen spent 15 years as the head men's and women's swimming and diving coach at the University of South Dakota (1991-2005), earning four North Central Conference Men's Coach of the Year and two NCC Women's Coach of the Year awards. At USD, Allen led the men's team to eight Division II top 10 finishes, as well as both teams' highest national placement – men third, women eighth. He coached 79 All-Americans, including the school's first individual champions in 2000, and 38 CSCAA Scholar All-Americans at South Dakota.
"I would like to thank President Dr. Carlos Campo and Athletic Director Al King for the opportunity to take the reins of the Ashland University Swimming & Diving programs," Allen said. "I am very excited to work for one of the top-ranked Liberal Arts colleges in the U.S., and an athletic department that is one of only two in NCAA Division II to rank in the top 15 of the Learfield Cup for 10 years straight. The commitment to high-level academics and athletics at Ashland University is impressive.
"It will be my task to bring the Eagles' Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving program back to a high level of competitiveness in the GLIAC and at the Division II national level. This will be done with diligent recruiting and a commitment to excellence. I look forward to working with all the coaches and administration at Ashland University."
Allen's résumé also includes stints as head coach of Idaho Falls Cutthroat Swim Team USA Swim Club (2008-12), head men's and women's swimming coach at NAIA Morningside College and assistant men's swim coach at California State-Bakersfield (1990-91).
"Ron's presence will bring credibility to our swimming and diving program," King said. "The next several months are going to busy for Ron, but he's equal to the task. He's bringing a lot of new ideas and concepts to campus, and we welcome that. It's an exciting time for the student-athletes in this program."