Virginia at Navy, Oct. 28, 2011 (photos by Phil Hoffmann)
Bill Roberts enters his 11th season as the head coach of the Navy men's swimming team and his 14th year as part of the program's coaching staff in the fall of 2013.
Last season was highlighted by Navy winning the program's 10th Patriot League Championship in as many years of competing at the meet, as well as the team's 22nd consecutive win over Army.
The 2011-12 season was another memorable one for the Mids. Navy defeated both Virginia (15th at 2012 NCAA Championship) and Penn State (23rd at NCAA Championship) on its way to tallying an 11-1 record during the regular season. The Mids then became the first team in Patriot League history to win all 18 swimming events at the league meet, a performance that led Navy to its ninth-straight Patriot League title, and won the ECAC title for the fourth time in four years. The year concluded with 13 Mids qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Roberts himself was selected as the coach of the year by both the Patriot League (fifth award) and the ECAC (fourth award) in 2012.
Navy's 2011-12 campaign came on the heels of a successful 2010-11 regular season that was highlighted by the Mids becoming the first team in the two-decade existence of DeNunzio Pool to defeat Princeton. The Mids posted a 167-133 win over the Tigers that day to snap Princeton's home-pool winning streak of 94 meets. The Mids then established a new team points tally at the Patriot League Championship for the third consecutive year (1,031.5 pts.) to win the meet by 452.5 points. The year was capped off by Navy winning its third ECAC title in the last three seasons.
Navy has totaled 123 individual and relay event titles (of a possible 180) under Roberts over the last 10 years at the Patriot League Championship, more than five times as many as the number of titles won by the next best program in the league.
With the success of the overall program, Navy also has consistently qualified individual athletes for national meets under Roberts. The program returned to the NCAA Championship Meet for the first time in nearly a decade during his inaugural season of 2004, with four swimmers competing in a combined six individual events at the national meet -- which included Noah White's `A' cut time in the 50 free -- and earning a pair of Honorable Mention All-America certificates in two relay events.
Navy again sent multiple swimmers to the 2009 NCAA Championship, with both Adam Meyer and Erik Hunter competing in a trio of events. Meyer would join the illustrious list of Navy swimmers to have garnered All-America accolades when he received Honorable Mention All-America honors that year. He then duplicated his efforts in 2010 to become the first swimmer in 40 years to garner multiple All-America accolades in a career.
Meyer's brother, Mark, joined Justin Vagts in competing at the 2011 NCAA Championship.
The Mids have also enjoyed great success during the regular season under Roberts. After posting an 8-9 record during his initial season, Navy totaled double digit wins in each of the next eight seasons, including a 17-2 record during the 2008-09 campaign. Navy has tallied a 106-28 record over the last nine seasons and is 114-37 overall under Roberts.
Additionally during the Roberts era, Navy swimmers have annually taken part in national meets such as the World Championship Trials, the World Military Games, the ConocoPhillips National Championship and the USA Swimming Spring Championship.
Success has also been achieved by the men's swimming and diving team in the classroom under Roberts. A total of 119 Mids have earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll accolades over the last 10 years, and the team has a whole has been recognized multiple times as an Academic All-America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
Roberts first arrived at Navy during the summer of 1997 when he joined Lee Lawrence's coaching staff as an assistant coach. In three seasons together the Lawrence-Roberts duo guided Navy to a 27-10 record, including an 18-9 mark in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League. Roberts coached Navy's 200 freestyle relay team that won the 1999 EISL title, and helped develop sprinter Clint Cornell to a 2000 Olympic Trials appearance and to the 2001 EISL 50-yard freestyle title.
A 1992 graduate of Springfield College, where he was a four-year letterwinner and served as team captain for two seasons, Roberts began his coaching career upon graduation as the head coach of the women's team at Wells College in his hometown of Aurora, N.Y. After two seasons at Wells, he served as a graduate assistant coach at East Carolina, where he also earned a master's degree in athletic administration. In the summer of 1996, he joined the Villanova program for one year before coming to the Naval Academy.
Roberts left Navy in 2000 to become the head coach at Colgate, during which time his men's and women's teams combined to post a three-year record of 39-36.
Roberts and his wife, Nicole, have three sons -- Will, age 14; Nick, age 12; and Jackson, age 10.