The Fresno State athletic department made two major announcements Thursday, naming a swimming and diving coach and promising to build a state-of-the-art aquatics center.
The university named Jeanne Fleck as the new swimming and diving coach.
Fleck has 19 years of coaching experience, most recently at Ohio State, where she was behind the building of a state-of-the-art aquatics facility.
Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh said that Fleckâ€™s ability to build the center at Ohio State was something that drew the Fresno State athletic department to her.
â€œWe hope that she can build a program that will be very competitive in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC),â€ Boeh said. â€œIt is difficult to start a program from scratch. You donâ€™t really get a learning curve when you start a new program.â€
Both Boeh and Fleck said that starting a new program from scratch will be an extensive and patient process.
â€œIâ€™ve coached for 19 years, and Iâ€™ve never had a chance to [start a new program from scratch],â€ Fleck said. â€œCalifornia is very attractive for swimming and the pool of athletes is just great in this area.â€
Fleckâ€™s short term goals are to recruit athletes, which she will begin doing next week.
She has not had a chance to start plans for the new aquatics center, but said that when she built the center at Ohio State, it took a lot of support from the community.
Fleck wants to eventually get her swimmers competing at the national level and she would like to eventually win the WAC.
Fleck plans to have a full team by August.
â€œIâ€™m not going to say that weâ€™re going to be a Top-5 program in five years,â€ Fleck said. â€œI donâ€™t know, Iâ€™ve never built a program before, but my goals are lofty.â€
Recruiting is her first priority, but Fleck does not plan to rush out and hire assistants.
She knows that she will not get the best pick of athletes because most of the good swimmers have already signed letters of intent to other schools.
â€œIt is exciting to build a program and a new facility,â€ Fleck said. â€œItâ€™s a lot of fun. Itâ€™s a lot of headaches, but a lot of fun.â€