Bowman to step down at Michigan after Beijing Olympics

Updated: April 17, 2008, 7:09 PM ET
Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps came to Michigan together.

The coach and swimming superstar are expected to leave Ann Arbor after the Beijing Olympics, teaming up again in Baltimore.

Bowman said Thursday he will step down as head coach of Michigan's men's swimming team following the U.S. Olympic trials in July to become the chief executive of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

"Michael is focused on Beijing, but Baltimore is home for him so I'm sure that's where he'll be after the Olympics," Bowman told The Associated Press. "We'll always be working together."

Bowman has coached Phelps since the phenom was 11. They first found success together at North Baltimore, the current home club of Olympian Katie Hoff.

Bowman said he had been mulling the opportunity for about five months. He will help develop new programs and facilities for North Baltimore while concentrating his coaching solely on professional swimmers, like Phelps and Hoff. Murray Stephens, who put the club on the swimming map, will yield to Bowman.

"It was a very unique opportunity, which I hadn't expected," he said. "It really makes sense."

After Phelps won eight medals -- including six gold -- in Athens four years ago, he joined Bowman in Ann Arbor to work out, take classes and serve as a volunteer coach.

Bowman currently coaches Phelps as part of his duties with Club Wolverine, which includes several other Olympic hopefuls, to prepare him for Beijing.

He guided Michigan to the 2008 Big Ten title and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA championships. Bowman compiled a 30-8-1 record in dual meets, including a 21-1-1 mark against Big Ten opponents, over four seasons.

"I really enjoyed the opportunity here and I wouldn't be leaving had it not been for a professional and business opportunity like this," Bowman said. "I think the foundation is set for Michigan to continue to be successful in the years to come."

The Wolverines were among the top eight teams nationally in each of Bowman's four seasons and had six individual titles under Bowman. He was the Big Ten coach of the year this year and shared the honor last season.

"I am sorry to see Bob leave, but this was an unexpected, rare business opportunity that he could not pass up," Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said in a statement. "This has been an exciting time for Michigan swimming, and I'm happy that he was able to conclude his tenure here on a high note with a Big Ten championship."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press