GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina Head Swimming and Diving Coach Rick Kobe has announced that the 2016-17 campaign will be his final season and he will retire at the end of the academic year. Kobe will retire as the winningest coach in program history and one of only six coaches in NCAA history with 500 dual meet victories.
“My 37 years at East Carolina were filled with so many great moments,” Kobe said. “I want to thank all our wonderful student-athletes that made my tenure so much fun and extremely successful. I was very fortunate to have had many outstanding assistant coaches over the years. Every student-athlete and coach shares with me all the great accomplishments that were achieved during my 35 years as head coach.”
Kobe has directed the men and women’s program since 1982 and has compiled a record of 530-188-1 with numerous accolades earned during his tenure. He has been named coach-of-the-year a total of 10 times in four different leagues (Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA, East Coast Athletic Conference, American Athletic Conference).
He currently ranks fourth on the NCAA all-time wins list.
The Pirates have won 10 conference championships under his direction, including each of the last two American Athletic Conference men’s titles, winning at least two championships in each of the past four decades.
The ECU men’s swimming and diving team has posted a dual meet record of .500 or better for 33 consecutive years, while the women’s team has recorded 24 consecutive winning dual meet campaigns.
Kobe has helped the Pirates set 349 varsity records and capture 164 individual/event conference titles during his 35 years overseeing the program. He has coached four NCAA All-Americans, two ECU Athletics Hall of Fame inductees, one Olympic participant and 227 all-conference performers. More than 100 of his student-athletes have made their NCAA ‘A’ or ‘B” cut and participated in seven NCAA Division I Championship meets.
Kobe has also tutored some of the top academic performers at ECU. Marc Cook (1991, ’92) and Geoff Handsfield (2007, ’08) were both two-time Academic All-America selections, while Andrew Stoker received the notable distinction following the 2010-11 season.
Kobe came to ECU in the summer of 1980 to serve as an assistant coach under Ray Scharf and was later named head coach on March 15, 1982 following Scharf’s retirement.