Q&A With Matt Crispino, Head Males’s Coach at Princeton College

Matt Crispino

Q&A With Matt Crispino, Head Males’s Coach at Princeton College

From Colgate to William & Mary to Princeton, Matt Crispino has charted a course of aquatic excellence for establishments deeply rooted in tutorial success.

Matt Crispino
Head Males’s Coach
Princeton College

• Faculty of William & Mary, B.A., authorities, 2002; M.A., bodily schooling, Florida State College, 2003
Head males’s coach, Princeton College, 2019-present
• Head coach, William & Mary, 2007-2019
• Assistant coach, Colgate College, 2006-2007
• Assistant coach, United States Army Academy, 2003-2006
• Graduate assistant, Florida State College, 2002-2003
• Recipient of W&M’s Plumeri Award for excellent achievements in instructing, analysis and repair (first member of the athletic division to be so honored)
• W&M group captain, MVP, 2002
• At W&M produced 76 CAA males’s and 40 girls’s particular person or group champions
• Coached 96 p.c of William & Mary’s top-10 performances and a pair of,351 lifetime greatest performances
• 7x CAA coach of the 12 months
• Coached 3 CAA swimmers of the 12 months, 7 prime championship meet performers, 10 OT swimmers

Swimming World: How did you come to an aquatic life?
Coach Matt Crispino: I grew up in an athletic household. When my two older brothers joined the native Y group in Southington, Connecticut, I adopted. I loved soccer greater than swimming, however I used to be a greater swimmer and grew to find it irresistible extra. In highschool I noticed my arduous work repay.

SW: And discover William & Mary?
MC: I needed an out-of-state small college with world-class lecturers. I wasn’t quick sufficient for giant time Division I swimming, however I used to be a robust pupil desirous to be challenged academically and athletically. William & Mary was a pure match. On the time, Ned Skinner was amassing a really respectable assortment of swimmers for a mid-major program with no scholarships, a subpar facility and few sources. I used to be excited to affix that momentum. Ned left earlier than I arrived, however I had a memorable expertise at W&M and really feel deeply linked to the place having spent 16 years there.

SW: Who had been a few of your swimming and training influences?
MC: Don Prigitano coached me from day one by highschool. He was not a full-time coach, however he put full-time effort into making me higher. My freshman season at W&M I used to be coached by Greg Meehan, who stays a pal and mentor to at the present time. I labored below John O’Neill (West Level) and Steve Jungbluth (Colgate), who had been each mentors. There are tons of different names – too many to checklist. I attend CSCAA annual conferences yearly to be taught new issues and make new connections in swimming. I’ve additionally employed nice assistant coaches. Every has impacted my life and my profession. I in all probability be taught extra from my assistants than anybody else.

SW: How does a man with a level in authorities get entangled in faculty swim teaching?
MC: If you go to William & Mary, or some other undergraduate-focused liberal arts college, the entire concept is to pursue tutorial areas you discover compelling. I loved finding out authorities, however the diploma was not a way to an finish. I knew I’d decide on a profession path finally. I simply wasn’t certain what it will be and I wasn’t in a rush to determine it out. As a senior I acknowledged that collegiate sports activities had been my ardour. I used to be going to work in sport someway. I utilized to a couple sport administration grasp’s diploma packages and ended up at FSU. I requested Neil Harper and Andy Robins if I might be part of them on deck as a GA. They stated sure.

SW: You and your spouse had been extraordinarily concerned in neighborhood life whereas in Williamsburg. As such you had been the primary athletic division member to be honored with the varsity’s Plumeri Award. What was the worth of your neighborhood participation to the school and also you personally?
MC: I like that in faculty athletics sport is intertwined with larger schooling and a broader campus neighborhood. The extra athletic departments and college directors work together head to head, the higher it’s for the complete group. I’ve discovered that almost all profitable, long-tenured coaches have constructed relationships and developed a sturdy “group across the group” as we name it right here at Princeton.

SW: Along with your athletes producing 96 p.c of program’s all-time greatest occasions and also you incomes seven CAA coach of the years honors why hand over an excellent factor at William & Mary?
MC: In the end, it was not about giving up an excellent factor however transferring on to a once-in-a-lifetime alternative at Princeton. W&M will at all times be my second house, and I’m happy with what our swimmers completed there; these recollections are sacred to me. However Princeton is with out query among the finest locations within the nation for school athletics. We’re perennially the highest non-Energy 5 athletic division. The services are spectacular, the sources are considerable, the workers is top-notch, and it simply so occurs to be the #1 undergraduate establishment within the nation. Everybody here’s a excessive achiever and is elite at what they do. I like being round individuals like that. In my thoughts, that is teaching on the highest degree. And I will even say this – management issues. The 2 athletic administrators I’ve labored for right here at Princeton have impressed and motivated me each day. It’s necessary to imagine in and belief the individuals you’re employed for.

SW: How has being married to an all-conference swimmer enhanced your private {and professional} life?
MC: I can’t even think about answering this query in a few awful sentences. Liz has enhanced each facet of my life. She makes me higher in each means potential. The life and household we’ve constructed collectively are that of which I’m most proud. The work she does, each professionally and as a mom to our daughters, is inspiring. She retains me centered and grounded.

SW: W&M is a breeding floor for distinctive coaches throughout a variety of sports activities. Mike Tomlin, Sean McDermott, Marv Levy, Lou Holtz, Greg Meehan, Jill Ellis (former US Ladies’s Nationwide Group Coach-Two World Cups) and Matt Crispino come to thoughts. What’s it concerning the W&M expertise that enables coaches to supply at this degree?
MC: W&M tends to draw overachiever sorts who’ve chips on their shoulders and are wanting to show themselves. This is applicable to each coaches and college students. It’s a “enjoyable” problem of types – how do you create a first-rate athletic expertise, full with convention and nationwide competitiveness, in an setting that isn’t inherently constructed for that? How do I discover the precise individuals and domesticate the precise setting for these people to succeed past their potential… and the way do I do that despite so many aggressive disadvantages? In brief, how can we do extra with much less? When you discover the precise individuals, they’ll discover solutions to those questions.

SW: You coached a mixed group at W&M. Now with a single gender program, what are among the variations?
MC: There aren’t a ton of variations. There are refined modifications in the way you strategy a given state of affairs with a bunch of solely males. Maybe motivational techniques or method of speaking may change, or there are some variations in coaching and restoration. In the end, although, the artwork of motivating and galvanizing younger individuals to succeed hasn’t modified for me. Whereas I coach solely males, we have now a robust group of feminine swimmers and divers at Princeton who I’ve come to know nicely. Our staffs collaborate and work nicely collectively. In some ways, we’re two separate packages however one group.

SW: At nearly each cease your swimmers have excelled academically. Why is that?
MC: I don’t know. I attempt to instill the significance of getting two essential priorities through the undergraduate years – lecturers 1a, swimming 1b. We encourage them to exceed the usual in relation to their tutorial habits. However the actual motive they’re profitable is as a result of I believe we’ve made good selections as a workers about who to deliver on to our group. My assistant coaches at Princeton, first Doug Lennox and now Abby Brethauer, have been masterful at serving to me determine the precise individuals to affix the PUCSDT household. If you discover individuals whose priorities align with yours, it’s not arduous to encourage them to excel academically. And even higher, your tradition evolves in a very constructive course. That is precisely what’s occurred in my first three-and-a-half years at Princeton.

SW: One observer notes that you’re an emotional male coach whose feelings inform the selections you make. What are some aggressive situations the place that paid off for you and your group?
MC: I’ve made it a degree to mannequin vulnerability with my group. I believe it’s necessary, as these younger males develop their very own ideas surrounding masculinity, to see a coach/chief who could be genuine and open. I additionally encourage our swimmers, divers and assistant coaches to do the identical. Discovering your voice and your id is a vital a part of the school years. Hopefully I’m offering them with house to try this. In the end, I can’t anticipate them to be forthright with me if I’m not doing the identical. This degree of honesty lends some transparency to powerful choices, and finally, results in mutual respect.

SW: Household performs an enormous position in your life. How has being a father influenced your teaching model?
MC: Being a father has enhanced my persistence, my time administration, and my appreciation for the work that goes into elevating these younger individuals earlier than they ever arrive on our groups. I’m way more inclined to attempt to assist somebody arrive at an answer to an issue than to attempt to clear up it myself. I do know that I can’t defend my swimmers or my youngsters from all types of hurt; however I can arm them with the power and data to deal with this adversity when it comes their means.

SW: You will have Raunak Khosla, a stable present roster and a heralded recruiting class for this 12 months. What does it take for Princeton to be a relentless Ivy League champion?
MC: The Princeton males have received 26 Ivy League titles, so there’s precedent. This program is wealthy in historical past, together with 40 years below the steerage of the legendary C. Rob Orr. I’m simply constructing on his legacy and custom of profitable, and I imagine a return to Ivy League domination is imminent.

It takes constant high-level recruiting, the precise tradition and a supportive and inclusive environment. It additionally takes the precise workers, nice teaching and full buy-in from the scholars. Add to that an entire lot of arduous work, some luck and big-time relays and nice divers. Assist from the Princeton neighborhood, the President to the AD and the individuals who clear our pool is essential. Now we have all that and extra. I’m assured that this program will perennially contend for Ivy titles and, equally importantly, be a pressure on the nationwide and worldwide degree for a very long time to come back.

SW: In some ways Olympic sports activities are an endangered species on faculty campuses. Is that a problem at Princeton? If not, why not?
MC: The heralded “Buddies of Princeton Swimming & Diving” have made certain our program’s future won’t ever come into query. Our alumni are as invested and as supportive as any group within the nation. They make certain we’re on stable footing financially, and so they help this system in so many different methods. Our College and athletic division are dedicated to a broad-based athletics program. Now we have 38 sports activities. Final 12 months, we added a sport (girls’s rugby) at a time when different athletic departments are downsizing. Princeton will proceed to be a frontrunner on this regard. And if anybody wants recommendation on tips on how to save a swimming program from being reduce, simply chat with any William & Mary swimming alum – all of us have superior levels on this subject!

SW: Tyler Fenwick used to beat you want a drum in fantasy soccer. How did that make you’re feeling?
MC: For the document, that is again when fantasy soccer drafts and scoring had been performed in a dorm room, scribbled in somebody’s historical past pocket book. Plenty of room for fudging of numbers if you happen to ask me. Additionally, how was I to know Daunte Culpepper would blow out his knee and by no means return to type?

SW: Reality or Dare. You had been an everyday taking part in Trivial Pursuit on the Colgate Inn. Have been you actually nearly as good at that sport as you assume you had been?
MC: Dominant is the one phrase that involves thoughts. If reminiscence serves, our group was undefeated for the 2006-2007 tutorial 12 months. That’s largely resulting from Elizabeth Lykins’ experience although. My solely main space of contribution was faculty/college nicknames.