A veteran in collegiate swimming, head coach Jim Wilson enters his 21st season as head coach of the Dartmouth men’s swimming program and eighth season as the women’s head coach at the start of the 2013-14 season. After 14 years of service on the men’s side, then Director of Athletics Josie Harper pegged Wilson as a natural choice to assume leadership of both varsity programs in 2006.
Wilson joined the Big Green athletic department in 1993, coming to Hanover from the University of Utah. At Dartmouth, he has coached numerous All-Ivy performers and, in 1997, led the Big Green to its finest Ivy finish in 16 years.
Dartmouth continued its upward trend in 2012-13 and saw both teams finish in the top five at the Ivy League Championship, highlighted by three event titles from junior Nejc Zupan en route to earning Dartmouth’s first-ever Ivy League Swimmer of the Meet honor.
Zupan also became the first Big Green swimmer to reach the NCAA Championships since 1980 and reached the finals in the 200 breaststroke, placing eighth and becoming the first All-American in recent history. The men’s team closed the season ranked in the top 10 in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major poll – it’s highest ranking in program history.
The Big Green women also had a good season, posting their second consecutive top-five finish at the Ivy League Championships. Diver Katy Feng earned the 3-meter title on the final day of competition and earned Diver of the Meet honors. In all, the Big Green women set 14 of 19 possible school records over the course of the season.
Dartmouth posted one of the best seasons in program history in 2011-12. Both the men and women’s team finished in the top five at the Ivy League Championship. The men’s fifth-place finish was the best finish for the squad since 1981. Over the course of the meet, the men set 13 school records. Under Wilson’s tutelage, sophomore Nejc Zupan has claimed three Ivy League titles and became the first Dartmouth swimmer to win the 1650 free at the Ivy League Championship in 2011.
Since taking over as the women’s coach, the Dartmouth women have shown steady improvement and in 2011-12 placed fifth at the Ivy League Championships, the first top-five showing in the last 10 years. The Big Green set six new school records during the meet.
Wilson’s first collegiate coaching job was as an assistant at Utah from 1977-87. He was promoted to head coach of the women’s team in 1987 before assuming head coaching duties of both the men’s and women’s teams in 1990. Wilson’s men’s team won the Western Athletic Conference title in each of his three years at the helm. He also earned individual recognition as the University of Utah Coach of the Year in 1992 and the WAC Coach of the Year in 1993. Wilson coached both Utah teams until 1993, when he came to Dartmouth.
Besides college coaching, Wilson coached Anaheim Aquatics (1978) and the Hong Kong national team (1979) and was the director of the Utah Summer Swim Camp (1982-93).
Wilson was also a successful water polo coach until 2006. He coached Utah’s men’s water polo team from 1980-89 and took over as Dartmouth’s coach in 1993. In 1997, he guided the Big Green men to the Collegiate Water Polo Association national title before leading the women to a second-place finish nationally in both 2004 and 2005. In addition, he was named the 2004 National Coach of the Year for women’s water polo.
A 1977 graduate from Utah, where he was an All-America swimmer, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications before earning another bachelor’s in exercise and sport science in 1980. He and his wife, Debbie, have three children, Sarah, Chris and Rachel.