June 15, 2011
By Danielle Marshall
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado State Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk announced Wednesday the hiring of Christopher `Woody' Woodard as the Rams' Head Coach of the women's swimming and diving team. Woodard takes over for John Mattos, who retired after 31 years at CSU.
Woodard, a former assistant coach for swimming and water polo at Colorado State from 2000-05, comes from North Carolina State, where he was the associate head men's swim coach and the assistant women's swim coach for the past six seasons.
"We're excited to be able to hire someone as talented as Chris," said Kowalczyk. "We believe he is ready to be a head coach and that his experience, including his five years here at CSU under Coach Mattos, will make the transition a smooth one. He understands CSU and recognizes what this program can achieve."
Woodard becomes the fifth individual to head the women's swimming and diving program at Colorado State, following Mattos (1980-2011), Gary Ilman (1978-80), Cyd Mechem (1977-78) and Nancy O'Connor (1964-77).
In Woodard's 15 years of experience, he has assisted in coaching swimmers such as Colorado State's Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken (2000), Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones (2008) and Puerto Rican national record holder Dan Velez, and he was the primary coach for seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Erin Popovich (2004), also a former Ram.
"I am thrilled at the opportunity to return to Colorado State University," commented Woodard. "It's so good to be back with the Ram family again. I want to thank Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk, associate ADs Christine Susemihl and Doug Max, and of course, my mentor John Mattos for this opportunity. I can only hope to honor the tradition John has established as our team works toward climbing the MW and NCAA ladder. I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and go to work and I can promise that we will work tirelessly, compete ferociously and always act with integrity to achieve our goals."
During his tenure with NC State, Woodard's swimmers compiled 58 school records and the women's team placed 29th in the NCAA championships in 2009. Both the men's and women's swim squads were named scholastic All-American teams in 2010. Jones, before winning the gold medal in 2008, was the NCAA champion in the 50-meter freestyle in 2006.
While at CSU Woodard helped coach the Rams to a 37-13 dual meet record from 2000-05 and produced five Mountain West champions with 14 school records in his final season. Colorado State finished in the top three in the MW each year from 2001-04, including a 10-0 record and a regular season championship in 2004, the same season the team was an NCAA qualifier. Woodard served as a volunteer assistant with Colorado State from 1998-2000 while obtaining his master's degree.
Before his time at the university level, Woodard served as the head coach for the Shawmut Aquatic Club from 1996-98. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., graduating in 1995. He earned his first coaching job after graduation as an assistant swim coach with Hartwick, where he recruited three future All-Americans from 1995-96.