UNLV men's and women's swimming and diving head coach Jim Reitz, who at 35 seasons was the longest-tenured coach in Rebel athletics history, announced his retirement on Tuesday, to be effective at the end of June.
"Without a doubt we are losing not only an outstanding coach, but also an icon with Jim Reitz's retirement," said UNLV Director of Athletics Tina Kunzer-Murphy. "Jim has built our swim program almost from the ground floor into one of the top programs on the West Coast, and the entire Rebel family will always appreciate the accomplishments and the outstanding student-athletes that came through the program in his time as our head coach."
Here, the longtime coach shares his thoughts with UNLV Magazine.
We all go through ups and downs. The one thing I love to do is coach swimming. Early on we didn't do as well as I wanted, and I was crushed. That changed when I got married and had a family. I got a little perspective.
Obviously, Las Vegas was a small desert enclave (in 1980). I visited Phoenix and talked to a couple of high school seniors and one of them laughed at (the idea of coming to UNLV). I was struck by the work I had to do to change their perceptions. But now our university is respected. People know about our academic quality now, and they know we're running an international swimming program.
College sports has become a gigantic industry. There's a wall between the haves and have-nots. I would like to limit the number of scholarships (schools can award) to level the playing field for nonrevenue sports.
I have a little bucket list now: Go back to school, travel the Amazon, maybe start a business.
Reitz by the Numbers
Reitz, who first took over the reigns of the UNLV swimming program in the 1980-81 season, steadily built the Rebels into one of the most successful squads on campus.
- 42 -- All-Americans coached
- 10 -- Mountain West Conference tiles won in past 11 seasons
- 17 -- Top 30 finishes at NCAA Championships
- 15 -- Conference coach of the year honors