GREENVILLE, N.C. — As part of the reinstatement process, ECU Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert announced Wednesday that Matthew Jabs (Women’s Swimming and Diving) and Kirsten Burgess (Women’s Tennis) are returning to their respective positions of head coach. Both programs were reinstated on Jan. 7 and a timetable of when competition will begin – Fall 2021 or later – will be determined with input from the respective coaches.
“I know Kirsten and Matt will positively impact the lives of our student-athletes, our department and the Pirate Family,” Gilbert said. “Matthew Jabs has been a part of the swimming and diving programs at ECU for more than 20 years and his passion for the Pirates is well-documented. He has had a profound impact on so many student-athletes at ECU and I know he’s excited to continue that leadership. He brings an excellent coaching resume and his strong relationships within the community and region are major assets in recruiting.
“Kirsten is a proven leader and communicator who understands what it means to be a Pirate. She has demonstrated the ability to lead our women’s tennis program on and off the court and appreciates the work involved to achieve competitive and academic excellence. I’m excited about having Kirsten lead our program.”
Jabs served as the head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach for three seasons (2017-20), following 17 years as an assistant coach to ECU Hall of Fame coach Rick Kobe.
Under his guidance, ECU’s dual meet record was a combined 35-18 (M 16-9, W 19-9). In that time the Pirates set 66 school records, (38 varsity/28 freshman), won 26 American Athletic Conference championship events, with 50 all-conference athletes accumulating 77 all-conference performances. He led ECU to the 2020 American Athletic Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship and earned the league’s Coach-of-the-Year award.
“I’m excited to be back with the program and am appreciative for the opportunity,” Jabs said. “I am grateful for all of the support from family, friends, former teammates, athletes, and alumni over the past few months. As we start this new chapter one of our goals remains the same, and that is to make the swimmers and divers of the past, present, and future proud to be Pirates.
“There will be a lot of hard work in front of us, but I wouldn’t want to be anyplace else. ECU Swimming & Diving is special, and I look forward to the challenge of getting us back to meeting the level of expectations our swimming community expects.”
Burgess took over the reins of the women’s tennis program in March 2020 as its interim coach following the retirement of Tom Morris. She was initially hired as an assistant coach prior to the 2012-13 season and was elevated to associate head coach at the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
She coached two matches before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.
“I am excited to be back,” Burgess said. “Not just for myself but for the sport of women’s tennis. I want to thank Jon for reaching out and making the best of a difficult situation. His leadership through everything that has happened thus far has been exemplary. I can’t wait to get started and hope to welcome some great Pirates to campus this fall.”