Hired at University of Virginia in 2013Edit
While Alums are still up in arms about the 'retirement' of Mark Bernardino, Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage wasted little time in appointing 'Dino's successor. Augie Busch, head coach of Houston’s women’s squad for the past two seasons, has been named the head coach of the Cavalier men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.
“After doing the research to find a great fit and the type of coach best positioned to take over the Virginia swimming and diving program, there is no question in my mind that Augie Busch is someone who is uniquely qualified,” Littlepage said. “His background with top-ranked college programs, conference and NCAA champions and Olympic-level swimmers have all prepared him to build on our programs' success at Virginia.”
In his two seasons at Houston, Busch has revitalized the Cougars. Last year they finished a close second at the Conference USA Championships. At Virginia Busch takes over an established program with a history of success, something he lacked at UH. Busch's first task will be securing UVA's incoming class. To date, only one recruit has has asked for a release. Busch's bigger task, however, will be placating a large and established alumni base that has not been shy about expressing its displeasure with Bernardino's departure.
At Houston, Busch, 37, improved the profile of the Cougars athletically and academically. The Cougars recorded personal-best times in 90 percent of their swims and broke seven school records in 2013 while achieving a program-best 3.42 team GPA.
“It is with tremendous excitement and enthusiasm that I accept the head coaching position for this prestigious program,” Busch said. “I am so grateful to Mr. Littlepage and his staff for believing I’m the person to lead these awesome teams. Mark Bernardino did an amazing job lifting UVa Swimming to the highest level and I have the utmost respect for him and what he has accomplished. It is my goal to build upon what he has created and take the program to even greater heights. Over time I’m confident we will be able to accomplish this.
“In departing Houston, I cannot thank them enough for giving me my first head coaching opportunity. The team and administration at UH are first-rate and I have no doubt their program will continue to prosper. Moving forward, I can’t wait to be a part of Virginia Swimming and cannot wait to get started.”
Before Houston, Busch was a highly-successful assistant coach at Arizona for eight seasons (2003-2011), where the Wildcats earned 15 top-five NCAA finishes, more than any other program during that period. His tenure in Tucson was highlighted by both Wildcat teams winning NCAA Championships in 2008.
At UA, Busch worked primarily with the backstroke and individual medley swimmers while also serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator. In his eight seasons at Arizona, Busch's training group produced three NCAA champions, 21 individual All-Americans and swimmers on 10 national champion relay teams.
Busch was instrumental in the success of two Olympians in Albert Subirats of Venezuela and Jake Tapp of Canada. Subirats is one of the most decorated swimmers in UA history with six national titles and 20 All-America accolades. Busch served as an assistant coach for the Venezuelan Olympic team in 2008 as well as for the 2007 Pan American Games.
Before Arizona, Busch was an assistant coach for the Arkansas women’s team, helping the Lady Razorbacks to school records in 15 of 18 events and a 31st-place finish at the 2003 NCAA meet.
Prior to his teat Arkansas, Busch served as the head swimming coach at Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson from 1999-2000. He began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant coach for the Hillenbrand Aquatics club team, now known as Ford Aquatics. Busch was also a volunteer assistant with the UA program from 1998-2001 and he was head coach of a high-profile summer league program, Sabino Vista Hills, during those same years.
Busch was a two-time letterwinner on the men’s volleyball team at The Ohio State University before returning to his native Tucson, Arizona, and graduating from UA in 1998 with a degree in psychology. Busch minored in Spanish, a language he speaks fluently.
Busch is the son of current USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch, who was a six-time NCAA Coach of the Year.