Nicole Carter will start as the new head coach of Brandeis women’s and men’s swimming and diving (BUSDT) on Sept. 10. Carter is a Wheaton College alum who has been an assistant coach for the Wheaton swim team for eight seasons. This will be the first time she’s taken on the role of head coach of a college team.
Carter applied for the Brandeis coaching position after the head coach of Wheaton, Barrett Roberts, pointed out the opening and encouraged Carter to apply. Barrett told the Brandeis Judges that Carter has been an important part of their coaching staff and “she deserves a lot of credit for not only our recent success at the conference and national level, but more importantly for our program’s culture change which enabled that success.”
Jim Zotz, former Acting Athletic Director, echoed the sentiment, telling the Brandeis Judges, “Nicole brings a reputation of high energy, excellent organizational skills and a strong commitment to her athletes.”
The position opened after Mike Kotch, the former head coach, left Brandeis. Kotch was put on administrative leave on May 2 pending the outcome of a formal investigation, after members of the swim team sent an anonymous letter to investigators as a complaint against the coach.
When asked whether Kotch was fired or resigned, President Liebowitz declined to comment on the basis of privacy. The Brandeis Hoot reached out to Kotch by email and he did not respond by press time.
Carter is not the only new hire within the athletics department. Lynne Dempsey was placed on administrative leave after the former basketball coach, Brian Meehan, was fired for allegations of inappropriate conduct. Jim Zotz replaced Dempsey as acting Athletics Director until this week when Brandeis hired Jeffrey Ward, an outside hire, to act as the interim Athletics Director and help re-instill trust in the program.
When asked about Carter, Ward told The Hoot he was “impressed by her experience” and that Carter will be a “welcome member of our staff.”
Carter hasn’t met all of the swimmers yet, but she’s seen BUSDT swimmers at competitions in the past. Wheaton is a NCAA Division III school, like Brandeis, and their swimmers have competed at the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships. Speaking about her new role with BUSDT, Carter told The Hoot, “It was a perfect fit so I am beyond happy that everything worked out and I’ll be taking over.”
Carter’s approach to coaching will focus on what the team needs and what type of encouragement the swimmers collectively respond well to. Carter said that her first move as coach will be learning everything she can about the swimmers—what they’re like both in the pool and around campus. She’s excited to get to know more about them than just their recorded lap times. The second step is “figuring out how to get the most out of them,” according to Carter. After spending eight seasons as part of the coaching staff at Wheaton, she feels confident that if the swim team does well, it’ll make it easier for her to recruit swimmers for the next season.
Carter said that the swimmers she has met conveyed their excitement at getting a fresh start. “There’s something about coming into a team that’s ready to be remolded and rebranded that I think is very exciting. Yes, I’m sure there’s going to be some bumps along the road. I mean there always are […] There’s a lot of potential and possibility so that’s what we’re focused on.”