The first of four Big Ten vacancies has been filled, leaving - four vacancies. According to sources at both schools, Penn State's Bill Dorenkott will be introduced as the new women's coach at the Ohio State University. The move leaves four Big Ten programs - Michigan (head men's), Northwestern (men's assistant), Purdue (head women's) and now Penn State - with coaching vacancies.
“We were looking for a coach who would help us compete at the national level,” T.J. Shelton, assistant athletics director for sports administration and search committee chair, said. “We feel we have that person in Bill Dorenkott and we look forward to him taking our program forward.”
“We want to thank Bill for all of his hard work and efforts on behalf of the Penn State swimming programs,” said Penn State Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator Susan Delaney-Scheetz. “During Bill’s tenure, our programs reached new heights at the Big Ten and NCAA levels. We will look to find a new coach who will continue the academic and athletic excellence that our men’s and women’s programs have achieved.”
It isn't the first time the Dorrenkott has been courted by his conference rivals. Six years ago he was courted by Indiana University for the men's job, but this time it looks like a done deal and will bring the respected coach back to the Buckeye state where he graduated from Cleveland State and later coached at Ashland University.
Now he has the keys to the Cadillac. Ohio State boasts the new McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion and one of the richest budgets in the nation, and now they have a coach with a proven record of success at both the conference and national levels. Under Dorenkott, Penn State's women's team captured three Big Ten titles and has finished among the top three in seven of the past eight years. That will be a welcome change for the Buckeyes who have not finished higher than seventh in the past decade. At the national level Penn State has enjoyed ten or more women's qualifiers in each of the past five years.
Dorenkott, who has had the unique opportunity to see Ohio State in action numerous times over the past 13 years, has been a fan of the Ohio State athletics program and its tradition.
“I noticed the pride in the program,” Dorenkott said regarding what he saw in Ohio State from afar. “And I saw the pride within the state in the program. I also liked the way that [men’s swimming coach] Bill Wadley and [diving coach] Vince Panzano conduct themselves personally and professionally.
“I view this as a terrific opportunity for both me and my family. We are looking forward to diving into The Ohio State University, the athletics department and the Columbus community.”
Shelton conducted a national search for the position and Dorenkott emerged as the No. 1 choice of the committee to replace nine-year coach Jeanne Fleck, who is now the head women’s coach at Fresno State University.
“We were excited about the overall quality of the pool of candidates,” Shelton said, “and we felt that Bill Dorenkott was the person we needed to be the next leader of our women’s swimming program.
“He has strong Ohio ties. He knows the Big Ten. He is a championship coach with strong recruiting abilities. He is an individual with great character. His commitment to the student-athlete coupled with his success on the pool deck is unmatched.”
Dorenkott, and his wife Adrianne, have four children – Jack, Matt, Ann and Will – with Jack, 10, the oldest. He is planning on coaching his Penn State student-athletes through the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer before moving to Columbus. That time will also leave him plenty of opportunity for “good-byes” to the family of people he has come to know and respect at Penn State.
“I don’t think the people will ever realize what a difficult decision this was for me and my family to leave Penn State,” Dorenkott said. “The people are what make this a most difficult decision. I’ve been able to build wonderful relationships with the student-athletes and the administration over the last 13 years. Athletics Director Tim Curley and his staff have been terrific. I will miss the administration. It is sad to be leaving, but I am excited about this great opportunity to coach at Ohio State University.”
"We are sad to see Bill leave Penn State but we are very appreciative of all of the things he has done for our swimming programs during his time here,” said Penn State Director of Athletics Tim Curley. “He has raised the standard of excellence for our swimming programs, both in the pool and in the classroom. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Curley, as so many Big Ten AD's have said this year, a national search for a new swimming coach will begin immediately.