Now in his sixth season at West Virginia, Vic Riggs has helped the WVU swimming and diving teams climb to a nationally acclaimed status, and with an academic support system designed around the swimming and diving program, Riggs is looking to build a team that is also recognized nationally for academic success.
Riggs had his most successful season as a head coach, leading the women and men to third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively, as the Big East Championships. For his efforts, he was named the Big East Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. The team placed 15 members on the all-conference squad with Rachael Burnett and Mandie Nugent leading the way with seven top-three finishes for the women, while Taylor Camp had three for the men. Burnett was named the Big East Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer.
Four different women earned a total of seven All-America Honorable Mention honors at the NCAA Championships as the team placed 26th. Burnett, Nugent, Kata Fodor and Danielle Smith finished 16th in the 800 free relay. Burnett earned the honor twice more, finishing 14th in the 500 free and 11th in the 1650 free, while Nugent took ninth in the 200 fly.
Riggs also sent eight swimmers to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., the most ever from WVU. The Mountaineers were represented in 15 different events during the Trials.
In total, 10 school records, three pool records and five Big East records were broken with Burnett leading the way behind four individual and two relay.
Both squads continued success in the 2010-11 season with the women finishing third at the Big East Championships, while the men finished in fourth place. A total of six school records were broken throughout the season, one being a Big East record.
For the men, Jared Goldthorpe broke the 200 back school record with a 10th-place finish in the NCAA Championships to earn All-America Honorable Mention status.
The women’s squad saw Burnett and Nugent named the Co-Big East Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmers at the Big East Championships. Burnett took wins in both the 500 free and 400 IM at the championships, while fin¬ishing sixth in the 200 fly. Nugent won the 200 fly on the final day of competition after setting a new Big East and school record time of 1:56.64 in the preliminary session. Nugent also finished second in the 100 fly and fourth in the 500 free.
Riggs had an astonishing season in 2009-10, with the women breaking three Big East records, 12 school records and three pools records, while the men broke four school records and two pool records.
At the NCAA Championships, Burnett, Kayla Andrews, Morgan Callaway and Shaunna Purtell earned All-America Honorable Mention honors with their 15th-place finish in the 400 free relay.
Andrews, Burnett, Callaway, Goldthorpe, Nu¬gent and George Farquhar were all individual Big East champions as well.
In 2008-09, there were 11 school records broken for the women’s team and five for the men. The women also sent three athletes to the NCAA Championships, with Michael Walker represent¬ing the men, finishing the 400 IM with All-America Honorable Mention honors. Andrews, Callaway, Lindsey Largo and Walker were all Big East cham¬pions, with Callaway being named women’s Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer at the meet.
The 2008-09 recruiting class also was a best for Riggs and his staff, as the men’s class was ranked 17th nationally and the women 24th.
In 2007-08, Riggs’ first season, the West Virginia women’s team broke 12 team, three pool and one Big East record. They also had three individual qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. On the men’s side, the squad broke four pool, three teand three Big East records, while Kevin Donohue became West Virginia’s first men’s All-American. Donohue placed fifth in the 100 breast at the NCAA Championships and helped the Mountaineers to a 33rd place overall finish.
Riggs guided the team to third- and fourth-place finishes at the Big East Championships as well. The Mountaineers had nine individual champions and two relay champions.
Throughout his coaching career, Riggs has coached numerous U.S. National and NCAA Quali-fiers, along with 12 Olympic medalists.
The women’s squad has earned Collegiate Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) All-Academic Team honors nine-consecutive semesters with Andrews and Callaway being named CSCAA Scholar All-Americans in 2009 and 2010, while Largo and Ashley Malik earned the honor in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The men’s team was named an All-Academic Team for the spring 2010 and spring 2011 term with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Individually, Brandon Robinson was named a CSCAA Scholar All-American in 2010, while Marmolejo earned the honor in 2009.
The teams have also been one of the top in the Big East for academics, having a total of 43 women and 34 men being named Big East Academic All-Stars in Riggs’ four seasons.
During the 2008 season, Nick Delic earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American Third Team honors, as well as being named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 2 First Team.
Success as an Assistant
Riggs came to West Virginia from Georgia, where he served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs in 2006-07. There, Riggs assisted the head coach in daily workouts and designed and implemented the sprint program, while also assisting with the meet line-ups.
Prior to his stint at Georgia, Riggs coached at USC under Mark Schubert, guiding numerous Trojan sprinters and breaststrokers to All-America recognition.
In his first year at USC, he worked closely with the distance and mid-distance freestyle and 400 IM athletes. Riggs helped guide Erik Vendt, Kaitlin Sandeno, Lindsay Benko and Kalyn Keller to Olympic berths for their respective 2004 Olympic teams. He also was the recruiting coordinator at USC.
The Club Years
Riggs previously served two years as head coach and owner of the Gator Swim Club in Gainesville, Fla. He also served as head coach for the U.S. National Distance Camp in 2000 and 2002.
From 1995-2001, Riggs and his wife, Renee, directed the Nel¬lie Gail Saddleback Valley Gators, coaching novice to Olympic level swimmers. Among the athletes Riggs coached during that time was the USC All-American Sandeno, who was a part of the 800m free relay that won a gold medal and broke a world record at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Riggs also served as the age group head coach at Saddleback Valley Aquatics in Lake Forest, Calif., from 1991-95. He was an assistant coach at Cal State San Bernardino from 1990-91 and also served as head age group coach for Riverside Aquatics in that time. He began his coaching career as the senior assistant at Ful¬lerton Area Sports Team (FAST) in 1989.
Prior to Coaching
Riggs competed at California-Berkeley, earning All-America honors in 1986 and swam on Cal’s second-place NCAA team. He was ranked seventh in the world in the 1500m free and ninth in the 400m free in 1985 and was in the Top 25 in the world in both events in 1984.
A 1985 World University Games participant for the U.S., he was an Olympic Trials qualifier in 1984 and 1988. He was a 28-time qualifier for the U.S. Senior Nationals from 1983-89 and won a junior national title in 1982.
Riggs and his wife, Renee, have four daughters: Abigail, Kathryn and twins Caroline and Irene.
|Coach Riggs's Record|