FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – University of Arkansas head swimming coach Jeff Poppell has resigned his position to be with family, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long announced today.
Poppell, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, recently concluded his sixth season as the head coach for the Razorbacks.
"Throughout his tenure, Jeff Poppell has been a tremendous asset to the University of Arkansas and the Razorback swimming and diving program," Long said. "Under his guidance, our program has earned national recognition for its performance both in the pool and in the classroom. I know our student-athletes have benefitted greatly because of Jeff's leadership. We are grateful for his many contributions to the Razorback program. We wish Jeff, Joanna and their family all the best in their future endeavors."
"Over the last several months, my wife and I have faced some challenges relating to the health of our family members in Florida," Poppell said. "These experiences have prompted us to make the difficult decision to leave the University of Arkansas and move our family closer to home so that we may be in a better position of support and assistance in the future.
"I have enjoyed my six years at the University of Arkansas and truly appreciate the opportunity provided to me by both Jeff Long and Bev Lewis," he continued. "Since arriving in 2006, our swimming and diving program has enjoyed much success both in the pool and in the classroom and I am confident that the foundation has been established for even greater success in the future. I will always cherish the relationships developed with student-athletes, coaches and athletic administration at the University of Arkansas. I wish the University of Arkansas and Razorback Athletics all the best and continued success in the future."
Under Poppell, the Razorbacks have been ranked in the top 25 nationally for each of the past four seasons and have nine current and one future student-athletes competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer.
Since coming to Arkansas, the Razorbacks have amassed a 40-17 dual meet record without a losing season. He coached Arkansas to its best finishes in Southeastern Conference action since joining the league in 1992 including a program-best fifth-place showing in 2009.
Arkansas finished sixth at the SEC Championships this year, had two divers in the top 10 at the NCAA Zone Diving meet and finished 41st as a team at the NCAA Championship.
Since 2008, Poppell has guided 16 athletes to the NCAA Championships, and helped 10 earn All-America honors. The 2009 season was a standout year, as five swimmers qualified for the NCAA's, four were named All-Americans, and Yi-Ting Siow placed fourth in the 200 breaststroke, the highest NCAA Championships finish for a swimmer in Razorback history.
Poppell's student-athletes consistently prove to be among the top scholastic performers in the country. Since 2008, the Razorbacks have garnered 23 Academic All-America honors, including a program record 10 in 2011. Graduate assistant Stephanie Carr earned Capital One Academic All-American team accolades in 2008 and 2009.
Under Poppell's leadership, the team has ranked in the top 10 in the nation for highest grade point average in all of Division I swimming and diving programs. The 2011 Razorbacks were 25th in the nation with a 3.43 grade point average, second in the SEC. The 2010 Hogs were ninth in the nation according to CSCAA with a 3.51 GPA, and the 2009 team was eighth at 3.48. The Razorbacks' top CSCAA GPA ranking under Poppell was fourth, in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, Arkansas had the highest team GPA in the SEC.
Arkansas was most recently named to the Division I Scholar All-America Team for the fall semester by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
The SEC has honored 74 student-athletes since 2007 for their academic success, including 17 swimmers and divers making the SEC Honor Roll in the winter 2011-12. In 2010 the SEC Academic Honor Roll included 15 swimmers from UA, and the 2009 list honored 12. The Razorbacks had seven freshmen honored by the SEC for their academics in 2011, three in 2010, and nine a year earlier. Five of Poppell's student-athletes have been named to the SEC Community Service Team along with one selected as the recipient of the Brad Davis SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship.