Clarion Swim Coach Mark VanDyke Announces Retirement Effective Immediately

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – After 17 years as the head men’s and women’s swimming coach, Mark VanDyke is retiring effective immediately according to a release by the university.

(Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

“I feel that after 20 years, the time is right for me to step away from Clarion,” VanDyke, who was Bill Miller’s top lieutenant from 1989-2000 before becoming the head coach in 2000, said. “I’ve had the enormous privilege of being both a student-athlete and a coach here, and I know what a special place Clarion can be. I’m confident that the leadership in place will continue to honor the legacy of a program that means so much to me.”

According to Sports Information Assistant Ryan Rodriguez, the rest of Clarion’s coaching staff – assistant coach Brehan Kelly and diving coach Dave Hrovat – will remain in place for the rest of the season and the search for VanDyke’s replacement is ongoing.

“I would like to thank Mark for his many years of service and success as a Golden Eagle,” Wendy Snodgrass, Clarion’s Interim Athletic Director, said. “We are sad to see him go after a storied tenure, and we are appreciative of all the contributions he’s made over nearly 30 years here. I wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

VanDyke was a part of 19 PSAC Titles as a coach (13 women’s, 6 men’s) including three women’s titles as the head coach. The Golden Eagles were either first or second on the women’s side ever season from 2004 to 2013.

“I’m so happy he is able to retire right now,” Miller, Clarion’s Hall of Fame legendary head coach, said. “This is a wonderful time for him to retire. His wife is retired, and they have a grandbaby on the way.”

VanDyke took over from Miller in 2000 and guided the Golden Eagles women to the PSAC title that season and then took Clarion to PSAC Championships in 2004 and 2006, with the 2006 title being won at Tippin Gym. The Golden Eagles then finished second in each of the next seven seasons before sliding to eighth in 2014, fifth in 2015 and sixth last year. The men’s program enjoyed 10 second-place finishes under VanDyke including in 2011 but slipped to seventh out of seven last season.

During his time as head coach, the women’s program also enjoyed four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division II meet including a fourth-place ending in 2011, fifth in 2004, sixth in 2010 and seventh in 2009. The men’s team finished eighth twice at the NCAA’s under VanDyke.

As Miller’s assistant, VanDyke helped Clarion to 11 women’s PSAC titles and six men’s championships along with 10 top-five NCAA women’s endings and five top-five NCAA men’s finishes.

An accomplished swimmer for the Golden Eagles in the late 1970s and a 1980 graduate of the school, VanDyke helped Clarion to four straight PSAC titles while winning nine individual and relay conference championships. The 1978 team finished fourth at the NCAA Division II championships.

While a student-athlete, VanDyke also earned 12 NCAA All-American nods and four NAIA All-American award. When he graduated in 1980, he held four school records.

Clarion’s women’s team has swum five times this season and is next in action Dec. 2 at the Zippy Invitational at Akron, while the men’s squad has also swum five times this year and is also in action Dec. 2 at the Zippy Invite.

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