Oakland University Hires Mitch Alters as Next Head Coach


By Anya Pelshaw on SwimSwam

Oakland University has announced the hiring of Mitch Alters as head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach today. Alters will take over the position on May 8th, right after longtime head coach Pete Hovland retires after spending 44 years at Oakland.

The athletic director made the announcement saying, “I am excited that Mitch will be leading the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs and I look forward to watching him build upon Coach Hovland’s decades of championship success.  Throughout the interview process, Mitch articulated a vision for the programs that valued the traditions that make OU swimming and diving unique while positioning the programs for continued success amidst the evolving landscape of Division I athletics. As Mitch starts creating his own head coaching legacy, I am confident the future of OU swimming and diving remains bright.”

Alters has been the associate head coach for the Grizzlies for the past two seasons after joining the program in July 2021. Prior to joining Oakland, Alters was an assistant coach at Richmond University. Alters began his coaching career at the University of Arkansas as a graduate assistant for two years.

Alters swam collegiately at Oakland where he helped the team capture four conference titles. In addition, he was team captain twice and won an individual conference title in the 200 fly in 2015 swimming a time of 1:47.65.

Both the Oakland men’s and women’s teams have won every Horizon League title since 2014. This year, the Oakland men finished 11 points ahead of IUPUI and the Oakland women finished 346 points ahead of IUPUI. Notably, the men’s meet came down to the 400 free relay (the final event of the meet), where Oakland was able to capture the win over IUPUI by over two seconds, securing the conference title.

In total, the men’s team won 11 events wins and had eight runner-up finishes at the 2023 Horizon League Championships. The women had 14 wins and four runner-up finishes.

In addition to their conference titles, Oakland also sent a swimmer to 2023 Women’s NCAAs as Susan LaGrand has competed at NCAAs the past three seasons. Notably, LaGrand was 16th in the 200 back at 2021 NCAAs and just finished up her fifth year.

Alters will be the first head coach on the men’s side to coach the school besides Hovland since they moved from Division II to Division I back in 1997, as Hovland was head coach of the men’s side since 1981. Hovland took over the women’s program in 2001.

The school is a Division I mid-major located in Rochester, Michigan, about 40 minutes north of Detroit. It is home to about 16,000 undergrads.

SwimSwam: Oakland University Hires Mitch Alters as Next Head Coach

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