Josh Willman is a longtime Nike Swim Camp director and has been the head coach at the University of New Hampshire since 1992. He has become the America East Conference’s most honored coach in being selected Coach of the Year fifteen times in the past 20 years. He has been selected America East Coach of the Year in (1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011,...
A 1984 graduate of the University of Miami (Florida), head coach Joshua Willman began his coaching career just after graduation at the YMCA and U.S.A. Swimming level. As an established age group and senior team coach, Willman cultivated nationally ranked swimmers, many of whom went on to world rankings.
In 1991, Willman made the transition to the collegiate level at the University of New Hampshire. He first served as an assistant coach and was named head coach in 1992. Under his caring hand, UNH’s swimming and diving program has erupted to the forefront of New England swimming and has become one of the premiere college programs on the east coast, bursting onto the national scene, recruiting top swimmers and divers from all over the world.
A number of milestones in particular have marked UNH’s steady rise to the top. In 1995, Willman produced UNH’s first-ever NCAA Division I qualifier, Denise Leckenby. She later went on to earn All-America honors in 1996 and placed eighth in the 200-freestyle as well as 11th in the 100-freestyle earning UNH enough points to finish 27th in the nation at the 1996 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Building on the successes of the mid-90’s, the Wildcats then won their first America East Title in 1997-1998 (with a record 832.5 points that still stands today) and then repeated as conference champions in 1998-1999. Beginning the new era in 2000, New Hampshire native and breaststroke standout Kristen Zeimetz was a finalist at the U.S. Open and participated in the 2000 U.S. Olympic team trials. In 2003 the Wildcats won their first ECAC Championship team title and continued to place near the top at the America East Championships once again, as they won back-to-back America East titles in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. New Hampshire continued to qualify swimmers for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, as senior Shannon Daly and sophomore Kary Goodman both placed in the top 25 in the nation during the 2006 campaign. UNH completed the 2006 season ranked eighth nationally in the mid-major Division I Polls. Most recently, the Wildcats won the ECAC Championships in 2011 for the second time in school history, claiming the title by a 1.5 point margin, earning a first-place finish on the final event, taking the 400-yard freestyle relay in record setting fashion.
New Hampshire’s success has not gone unnoticed, as Willman has become the America East Conference’s most highly honored coach. He has been selected America East Coach of the Year 15 times in the past 18 years (1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) and ECAC Coach of the Year twice (2003 and 2011). New Hampshire swimmers are the most highly decorated athletes in the America East, winning 31 major conference awards including 20 Swimmers of the Year (15 America East and 5 ECAC), five America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year, three Rookie of the Year and two Senior High Point Coaches awards. During Willman’s tenure, 329 swimmers have been crowned America East Champions and 98 have been named ECAC Champions. In total, Wildcat swimmers have broken over 221 school records, 73 America East records and 17 ECAC records.
New Hampshire is consistently an Academic All-America team and swimmers have earned NCAA Academic All-American honors, post-graduate scholarship awards and ranked as high as sixth nationally for grade point average. Willman is a certified ASCA Level IV coach and has been a recipient of the ASCA Coaching Excellence Award.