Mizzou Invitational Day 2. December 5, 2009. Mizzou Aquatics Center - Columbia, Mo.
Brian Hoffer enters his 17th season as head coach of a Missouri swimming and diving program that has reached national prominence, as both the men and women are coming off what many consider their most successful seasons in school history.
"The 2007-08 season was one of my favorites here at Mizzou," Hoffer said. "Things are really starting to come together for us as a program. With the new facility, things have only improved. Last year, the team performed at the highest level that they ever have. They really raced like there was no tomorrow."
Hoffer has put together a program that has continued to rewrite Missouri swimming and diving history as they have climbed into the national scene. Last season, the Tiger squad recorded 25 NCAA "B" cut times, the most for one season in school history. This number has doubled since the 2005-06 season. Also, during last season, Hoffer's swimmers and divers combined to break 17 school records. During his career at Missouri, over 200 school records have been broken.
Over his 16 seasons, Hoffer has a combined dual meet record of 207-120-1 (.633). In dual meet action, the women are 124-51-1 (.709) overall under Hoffer. This includes 11 straight winning seasons, in which the women have totaled a record of 96-22-1 (.814) during that span. The men are 83-69 (.546) combined over the past 16 years, which includes nine winning seasons with Hoffer as head coach.
Following the 2004-05 season, Hoffer was named Big 12 Men's Coach of the Year after the men went 6-2 in dual meet action. He was previously named Big 8 Men's Coach of the Year in 1993 and Big 8 Women's Coach of the Year in 1994.
While Hoffer's swimmers have had plenty of success in the collegiate scene, they've also excelled in competition outside of Mizzou as well. Seniors Lori Halvorson, Jill Granger and Ted Harris, and freshman Lisa Nathanson all qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials and competed for a shot to make the USA Olympic squad over the summer. Junior Colleen Gordon was one of 24 individuals from around the nation to be invited to the 2008 USA Open Water National Championships. Gordon went on to finish second in the 5K swim.
The 2008-09 recruiting classes for the men and women were both ranked in the top-25 nationally, as Hoffer constructed a group that looks to build upon the success already established at Missouri. The classes include Nathanson, diver Jordan Morcom, a Junior Olympics National Finalist and Scott Martin, an Ohio state champion and 13-time high school All-American.
While Hoffer has recruited numerous top-notch swimmers and divers for the program, he's also recruited student-athletes who have had great success in the classroom as well. Since Hoffer took over in 1992, he has had 299 student-athletes named to the league's All-Academic teams in both the Big 8 Conference and the Big 12 Conference. For the 2007-08 school year, 28 student-athletes from the Missouri program were named to the Academic All-Big 12 teams. The women had 15 first team selections and one second team selection, while the men had 10 selections for the first team and two for the second team. Brad Hubbard was one of only eight swimmers and divers from the Big 12 to earn a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
During the 2007-08 season, the men's and women's teams made history, as each squad moved into the top-20 of the CSCAA Top-25 poll. The women placed as high as 18th, while the men ranked in as high as 19th. It marked the first time in Mizzou history that both squads were ranked in the top-20 at the same time. Both the men and women finished in the top-25.
The women tied their best dual record of all-time, as they went 13-1 on the season, recording their 11th consecutive winning season. It all started when the women defeated Indiana, the defending Big Ten Champion, at the Mizzou Aquatic Center in the season-opening dual. The Tigers took 10 of 13 events in the 141-102 rout of the Hoosiers.
The women would roll through the dual meet season on their way to the Big 12 Championships, where they were able to avenge a fourth-place finish from the year before. The championship meet began with a bang, as the 800 free relay squad of Halvorson, Francie Szostak, Colleen Gordon, and Granger took second in the event, while shattering the previous school record by over 11 seconds. This, coupled with a Big 12 title by Melnychuk on the platform, secured a third-place finish for the Missouri women.
Melnychuk went on to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Championships with her 10th-place finish in the 10-meter and 11th-place performance in the 3-meter at the meet. With her finishes, she became the fifth Tiger to win a Big 12 title under the reigns of Hoffer.
The men recorded the most single-season victories ever by the program, finishing the dual meet season at 11-2 and bouncing back from a season-opening loss against Indiana to win 11 of their last 12 competitions over the season. Their only other defeat came at the hands of No. 16 Penn State.
The men followed up their highly-successful dual season with an impressive showing at the Big 12 Championships. The Tigers narrowly missed out on second-place, as they were edged out by Texas A&M in the final race of the competition to finish just three points out of second.
Two divers from the men's squad competed at the 2008 NCAA National Championships after their performances at the Zone D Diving Championships. DeStephen and freshman Dante Jones qualified for the National Championship meet after DeStephen took gold in 3-meter diving and Jones silver on the platform. At NCAA's, DeStephen finished in 12th-place in 3-meter diving, becoming the second Tiger of the season to earn All-America honors, while tying the highest ever finish by a Missouri men's diver at Nationals.
The top-notch recruiting, along with the growing success of the men's and women's teams and the Mizzou Aquatic Center inside the Student Recreation Complex has helped increase recognition of the Missouri program all over the country. With the new facilities and program accomplishments over the past few years, Missouri has been the host of the Missouri Grand Prix, a large-scale meet that has hosted the likes of Olympians Katie Hoff, Natalie Coughlin, and Michael Phelps.
Before taking over at Missouri, Hoffer was an assistant coach for the men's and women's swim teams at Arizona State for seven years, serving as the primary recruiter for both squads. During his time at Arizona State, the Sun Devil women placed in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships numerous times, while the men finished in ninth in 1991.
Hoffer earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology from Arizona State in 1986 and has also studied education at the graduate level.
Hoffer and his wife, Pam, reside in Columbia with their son, Riley, and daughter Tatum.