Eastern Michigan Eagles Head Swimming Coach Peter Linn was recently awarded the National Collegiate and Scholastic Trophy from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). The trophy is the highest honor from the organization and was presented to Linn at the CSCAA’s 58th Annual Awards Banquet at the Hilton Orrington in Evanston, Ill., May 7.
The National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy is presented annually to an individual or organization, which in the estimation of the recipient’s peers, has contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and healthful recreational activity. This award is also presented by National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) to the individual or organization which has made the most significant contributions to aquatic sports at the interscholastic level.
For 30 years, Linn has been extolling wisdom and winning championships at Eastern Michigan. Taking over for his mentor Mike Jones beginning with the 1988-89 season, Linn guided the men’s program to 24 Mid-American Conference Championships, including eight in a row from 1988-1996.
During that time, Eastern Michigan posted a 204-63 dual meet record (.764 winning percentage) and a dominate 119-7 mark against MAC opponents (.944 winning percentage). For more than 19 seasons, the Eagles did not lose a MAC dual meet as the streak grew to as many as 72 before it was snapped during the 2016-17 campaign. Furthermore, EMU currently holds the league all-time record in 10 of the MAC’s 22 regular season events and 11 of the MAC Championship records. Since taking over, Eastern Michigan has captured a combined 296 individual MAC Championships (254 men, 42 women) in Linn’s tenure. Overall, he was named MAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year eight times, while coaching 13 MAC Men’s Swimmers of the Year and six MAC Male Senior Swimmers of the Year.
On the women’s side, Linn took over for the 2004-05 season and has led the Eagles to a 96-38-1 mark and a 58-23 conference tally in 14 seasons. He was selected 2006 MAC Women’s Coach of the Year when he led EMU to the program’s first swimming title in 2005-06. A year later saw the Eagles capture the 2006-07 conference championship with a 6-1 conference mark. In doing so, he became the only coach to win both men’s and women’s team championships in the same year.
The third-longest tenured head coach in EMU history behind former track & field coach Bob Parks (33 years) and women’s gymnastics’ Steve Wilce (32 years), Linn has nurtured the careers of dozens of coaches.
”I wouldn’t be here without Peter. We are the best of friends - wet or dry,” said former University of Michigan Head Men’s Swimming Coach Jon Urbanchek. “Peter was awesome and could put my ideas into words to help coaches understand what we do.”
”Peter Linn is absolutely the smartest coach I have known,” added longtime Michigan Women’s Head Swimming Coach Jim Richardson. “He has as deep an understanding of every facet of developing swimmers to their potential as any coach on the planet. Jon and I refer to the years when Peter would join us during the summer with Club Wolverine as the ‘golden years.’ He was an integral part of the successes we enjoyed during those years.”
Linn’s history with Eastern started much earlier, however, as a swimmer helping the Eagles to a pair of NAIA team titles in 1970 and 1971 and the 1972 NCAA Division II Championship.
Linn returned to EMU in 1988 after leading Upper Arlington (Ohio) High School to three consecutive state championships, along with six straight district titles, while developing 32 individual district champions and eight individual state champions. He was also president of the Ohio High School Swimming Coaches Association in 1987-88. He was named Coach of the Year in the Ohio prep ranks in 1985, 1986, and 1987.
Prior to taking over at Upper Arlington, Linn coached at Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School from 1976-82 where he led the swimmers to their first league championship in 20 years. He was named Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1982. In 2002, Linn was elected to the Ohio High School Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame.
Linn attended Eastern Michigan University from 1969-74 and received a bachelor’s of science degree with a double major in mathematics and biology. He was inducted into the E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2006.