Get To Know Shippensburg University's Tim Verge

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created February 15th, 2011 09:48:23 PM

Modified February 15th, 2011 09:50:09 PM

Shippensburg University’s Tim Verge is this month’s Featured Coach. Coach Verge, who is in his 12th season at the helm of the Shippensburg swimming programs, has enjoyed many successes while with the Raiders.

Throughout Coach Verge’s career at Shippensburg the Raiders have been a nationally-ranked academic team for 21 semesters, produced 45 All-American honors, and set 13 school records. In 2008-09 he was named PSAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

In this SwimUtopia interview Coach Verge tells us about what caused him to go into coaching and what he does to motivate his swimmers.

Let’s get started!

What team do you currently coach for?
Shippensburg University

How many years have you been with the team?
As Head Coach, 12 years

What made you choose to take the coaching position?
It was a chance to return to my alma mater. SHIP gave me a lot more than I gave it when I was a student. I wanted to give back. It was my opportunity to be a part of a place that is so special to me and help to influence people’s lives.

What do you expect from SU the rest of this season?
We are looking for some great swims at the PSAC meet. Just a lot of terrific swims… personal bests. As well, we’d like to qualify as many people for NCAA as we can.

What is your favorite set to give your swimmers?
Well, with different groups we have some that are favorites per group. But, as a whole one set I like to do is the following:   

      2 x 200 (2:20)   
      2 x 200 (2:10)
      3 x 100 (1:10)
      3 x 100 (1:05)
      1 x 200 (2:15)
      1 x 200 (2:10)
      3 x  50 (:35)
      2 x 100 (1:05)
      3 x  50 (:35)
      1 x 100 (1:05)
      1 x 200 All Out

That is our top group, we’ve only had a few people make that in my time here. Then we go 5 sec off the 200 and 100 intervals for other groups. It is fun to watch.

What other teams or schools did you coach at before coming to Shippensburg?
I started as an assistant at Edinboro University. Then I was an assistant at both Northern Arizona University and Arizona State. My first head coaching position was at Ashland University before I came to Shippensburg.

What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been in coaching?
I would have to say at Ashland in 1998. Jamie Minnich-McDaniel became the first woman in DII to break 23 in the 50 when she won nationals that year thereby also breaking the national record. That was a huge thrill for me. She also won the NCAA Honda Award that year.

Is there any particular moment that stands out in your mind from coaching?
In 2006 Courtney Houston won the 500 at PSAC in Clarion out in lane 1. I don’t think anyone saw it coming but we both really believed she could do it. It was pretty emotional. As well, Theresa Simcic won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award in 2009. Those are pretty rare and it made me very proud of her success. Academic excellence is very important to us and it help validate a lot of what we do.

What motivates you as a coach?
It is really something special to be such a significant part of someone’s life as a coach. I try to remember and focus on that quite often.  To help them experience some terrific emotions when they succeed and to be there for them when things don’t go quite well is such a unique part of the job. Getting up every day and being part of that is so rewarding. I just want them to be so successful, to have those smiles when they look up at the board or hear their name called on graduation day.  It makes me work hard for them the best I can everyday.

What do you do to motivate your swimmers?
Play a lot of air guitar!!! Seriously…I just try to encourage them to not let them accept less of themselves than they are capable of. Then I feel like I am failing. We talk about that a lot. Doing the right things to succeed in anything. It doesn’t always happen but it is about doing the things you should. I  also like to send them little emails throughout the season, individually from time to time just to let them know about a strong effort, nice practice etc. I also can be very vocal, cheering, clapping etc in practice. It is funny to people because at a meet I am the complete opposite.

Do you have any personal routines before the start of a swim meet?
I keep a few cards my wife has given me over the years in my briefcase. I take them out in the office, on the bus, at the hotel etc and read over them. It helps calm me down and ground me a bit. And as any swimmer, or ex swimmer, does….. I always listen to some music.

What caused you to go into coaching?
I just love the sport. I wanted to continue to be a part of it and help others experience it. It is such a blessing to do what I really is. As with any career it has some tough times but coaching college swimming is a dream come true.

What are some things that people may not know about you?
I am a volunteer firefighter in Shippensburg. I love it. It is one of the best things I have ever committed to doing.  Also, in another life I would have loved to have been in a 1980’s hair band…Cinderella preferably. I’m so excited they are touring again this summer….25th year anniversary. I saw them at Penn’s Peak last summer and they still can blow the roof off of a place!