A new coach for a new conference

A new coach for a new conference

A new coach for a new conference
May 30
12:24 2013

By Audra Stamp / Staff Writer

While the UNT swimming and diving team was sad to see head coach Joe Dykstra leave, the team is excited to be joined by new head coach Brendon Bray for next season. Bray left San Diego State University to take his first head-coaching job.

Coach Dykstra helped the Mean Green break multiple school records and sent the first UNT swimmer to the NCAA Championship meet.

When Bray was a swimmer at the University of Washington, he swam for coach Dykstra and learned many of his philosophies.

“I don’t think there is anywhere in the country that is at a trajectory like UNT is at,” Bray said. “I think the opportunity that [Athletic Director Rick Villarreal] presented to me was very unique. I have the opportunity to be a head coach and to run my own program.”

Bray grew up swimming, and in college he became a four-year varsity swimmer, spending one year at Utah and three at UW. While at UW he was under the direction of Dykstra and as a senior he qualified for nationals and finished in the top 10 of the all-time 200 backstroke records at UW. Out of college, he became the assistant coach for the Huskies for the next three years.

Bray then went to SDSU where prior to his arrival, the team took home last place finishes in the conference the previous four years. He spent six years at SDSU sending 13 swimmers to the NCAA Swimming Championship, having multiple undefeated seasons and in his last season he helped produce 14 all-Mountain West Conference swimmers.

When the UNT head coaching spot opened, Bray had to apply. Though there were numerous applicants, Bray was one of the top three. Villarreal looked through resumes, formed a committee during the interview process and gained feedback from Dykstra and the team about what worked well for it and what did not. Finally a decision was made to hire the best fit — Bray.

“We had pretty good candidates that we brought in here,” Villarreal said. “Some may have lacked the responsibility that he’s had, and I think that’s what kind of separated him from the rest.”

The team was able to meet with Bray during the interview process and is excited to see what he can do for the team.

“I think he’ll bring new energy,” senior breaststroker Sarida Muslow said. “He seems similar to Joe when it comes to training, but with new ideas.”

Bray hopes that he can accomplish big things during their first year in Conference USA and while many coaches focus on winning the ultimate prize, he wants to win daily victories before taking on the end goal.

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