Oakland names Mitch Alters new head coach of swimming and diving


Nowshin Chowdhury

The Oakland Swimming and Diving team defeated Cleveland State in their final regular season match on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, the Oakland University Athletic Department announced its next men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach will be Mitch Alters.

The announcement came not long after the season’s end. Alters will take over as head coach for the 2023-24 season.

Alters is set to replace longtime and legendary head coach Pete Hovland, whose last day is scheduled to be May 7.

The associate head coach swam at Oakland from 2012-16, and his efforts were greatly appreciated by Hovland. In his four seasons at OU, Alters was a two-time team captain, and his career peaked when he won the Horizon League in the 200 Fly.

“I would like to thank Steve Waterfield and John Ciszewski for selecting me as the next Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach at Oakland University,” Alters said in a press release. “From the beginning of the interview process, it was clear that Steve and John valued the future of Oakland Swimming and Diving.

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of all the legendary Oakland coaches before me, especially my coach, mentor and friend, Pete Hovland. I am looking forward to this opportunity to continue to build upon the tradition of success in the pool, classroom and community. OU is a special place and I could not imagine being anywhere else.”

As Alters mentioned, Hovland had a legendary career, and the longtime head coach will leave behind big shoes for Alters to fill. It won’t be an easy task, but for someone who swam under Hovland’s tutelage, Alters will have a good foundation to build upon as he looks to create his own culture.

“Mitch’s greatest strengths are his ability to communicate and the positivity that he brings to every task, every day,” Hovland said. “Since Mitch left Oakland, he has been doing everything possible to position himself for this day, and I am truly excited and happy the university has embraced him with [this] announcement.”

Director of Athletics Steve Waterfield offered his thoughts on Alters, and what he did well throughout the hiring process.

“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,” Waterfield said. 

“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,” Waterfield said. “As Mitch starts creating his own head coaching legacy, I am confident the future of OU swimming and diving remains bright.”

Alters will officially take over as head coach on May 8, the day after Hovland’s tenure ends. There’s no way of predicting how long Alters’ tenure will last, but if it’s anything like his predecessor’s, it is bound to be one full of success and championships.