April 21, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - Erica Quam ended her nine-year career as the Washington State University Head Swimming Coach, Thursday by announcing her retirement from collegiate coaching. She is leaving Pullman to pursue personal and other professional opportunities in Bellingham, Wash.
"It has been a tremendous opportunity for me to coach at Washington State University for the past nine years," Quam said. "I am thankful for the student-athletes I have coached as each one contributed unique qualities that have helped this program evolve and improve to reach the level it is at today."
The numbers reflect the positive impact of the Roanoke, Va., native on the Cougar swimming program. She mentored student-athletes from a dozen states and seven foreign countries. Those swimmers set 19 school records and hold nearly 100 spots on the Cougar all-time top 10 lists. In addition, her squads have produced three team placements at the NCAA Championships, two All-Americans and one Olympian.
In the classroom, Quam's swimmers have been named to the All-Pacific-10 Academic teams 89 times, including 30 first team honorees, and have earned two Academic All-American awards. The Cougars were in the top 50 nationally 14-straight semesters and five times captured the Glenn Kranc Award presented to the WSU athletic team with the best semester GPA.
Quam also revived the Cougars' Snake River Challenge, an annual Labor Day swimming/running event for the team prior to its competitive season, and helped create the Debbie Pipher Memorial Invitational to raise money in honor of the former Cougar head coach who lost her battle with cancer.
"Erica Quam's service personifies what we are about at Washington State University," Cougar Director of Athletics Bill Moos said. "She raised the bar for the swimming program in the pool, the classroom and in our community. We wish her the best moving forward and will pursue an aggressive timeline to find her replacement."
Quam added, "I am grateful to (Former WSU Senior Associate Director of Athletics/SWA) Marcia Saneholtz for hiring me and to Bill Moos and (Current WSU Senior Associate Director of Athletics/SWA) Anne McCoy for their leadership and direction this year.
"I will continue to work with the National Outdoor Leadership School and hope to remain connected to intercollegiate athletics in some way because I believe so strongly in the student-athlete experience and how invaluable it is to the learning and growth of each individual. I am going to remain in Pullman to see our three seniors graduate before beginning my new journey in Bellingham. I will truly miss the daily interactions with student-athletes and wish the team, the department and the WSU community all the best."