FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona head swimming & diving coach Andy Johns is proud to announce the hiring of Larry Liebowitz to his coaching staff on Friday. Liebowitz previously spent the last 13 years as the head swimming coach at Oregon State and replaces Laura Thomas, who accepted the head coach position at Georgia Southern in June, as an assistant coach on the NAU staff.
"Larry's hiring means a ton for our program," Johns said. "It speaks volumes to the university, the athletics department and the city of Flagstaff; those were all draws to getting someone with his character to join our staff. His experience is going to have a huge impact on our current student-athletes and on the recruiting road. I'm looking forward to learning a lot from him – from someone who has been coaching at a high level for a while."
With the hiring, the three-time defending WAC Champion Lumberjacks add one of the most recognizable names in the sport. During his tenure at the helm of the Beavers, Liebowitz led Oregon State to three of its best finishes at the NCAA Championships, including its highest finish ever of No. 20 in 2004. Of the Beavers' nine swimming All-Americans, seven swam under Liebowitz's tutelage. He also coached 47 Pac-12 All-Academic selections during his Oregon State career.
Liebowitz's career was highlighted by Saori Haruguchi's individual 200 butterfly national championship in 2008 and Birte Steven's runner-up finish in the 200 breaststroke in 2004. Haruguchi remains Oregon State's lone NCAA Champion. Both Haruguchi (Japan, 2008) and Steven (Germany, 2004) competed at the Summer Olympics while current student-athletes.
"I would like to thank Northern Arizona University and Andy Johns for the opportunity to join the swimming & diving staff," Liebowitz said. "I am looking forward to working with the ladies who have won their conference championship three years in a row. This will be a fun and challenging opportunity and I am looking forward to going to work. My goal is to support Andy and to help our student-athletes perform at their very best."
Prior to his arrival at Oregon State, Liebowitz served as the head assistant coach for both the men's and women's programs at Southern California (USC) for eight years. While at USC, the Trojan programs never finished lower than seventh at the NCAA Championships. The USC women claimed the national championship in 1997 in his second year on the staff.
His renowned resume also includes a wealth of international coaching experience. Most recently, he coached eight swimmers at the 2010 Youth Olympics. His previous international background also includes serving as the assistant coach for the U.S. men's team at the Pan Am Games (1995, 1999) and the 1997 World University Games. Additionally, he led the U.S. men's team as their head coach at the 2003 World University Games and served on the Costa Rican Olympic Team staff in 1998. Including Haruguchi and Steven, Liebowitz also previously coached Amy White and Mike O'Brien – both of whom were medalists at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
"His coaching style is very creative and he looks at things differently than I do, which I think is great," Johns said. "It's going to lend a nice balance to the program. His demeanor is going to translate to our student-athletes having a great experience. Larry brings a lot of value to what we're trying to accomplish as a program not only in the pool, but out of it as well."