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Herbie Behm takes over ASU swim and dive with similar expectations

ASU alumni and associate head coach takes the reins following Bob Bowman's departure


ASU swim and dive head coach Herbie Behm answering interview questions at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2024 in Tempe.

Days after the ASU men's swim and dive team made history by winning its first NCAA title, news broke that Hall Of Fame head coach Bob Bowman had left for Texas, which has 15 men's NCAA swim titles. 

With a spot to fill, associate head coach Herbie Behm stepped into a head coach role. Behm has a rich history at ASU as he was a Sun Devil from 2010-13. After a coaching tenure at Utah, he returned to Tempe in 2018 and has risen in the ranks since then. 

Behm also coached both the USA and Puerto Rican National Team. 

As the head coach of the Sun Devils, Behm said his vision for the team is to build on its community by continuing to work hard and keeping up their championship standards. Last year under Bowman, the team was ranked No.1 in the country all year and won the first national title in team history. They broke multiple records along the way. 

"One thing we always tell the team is how you do anything is how you do everything, just living a lifestyle that greatness is a byproduct," Behm said. "If we can do that every single day, it can be an incredibly special place."

Despite all the emotion from winning the NCAAs, Behm was shocked to learn about Bowman's departure. He said in a recent press conference that he needs to be himself. If he tries to be a coach he is not; if he tries to be just like Bowman, he might not succeed. 

He said what separates him and Bowman is building each swimmer individually to help make a stronger team. 

"The biggest difference is the individuality portion of it, and really building it around the individual and trying to make that for 60 people on the team," Behm said. "Making a community of that is a really important thing and something that we’ve done. I feel like I’ve done really well in the group that I’ve been coaching, but now expanding that to everybody is really exciting."

One of the ASU stars hoping to compete in the Olympics for his home country, France, is junior world record holder Léon Marchand. As a person, Behm thinks the world of Marchand, the swimming, speaks for itself. 

"I can't say enough good about Léon," Behm said. "It's just the type of person he is, how caring and passionate he is for everybody. There is no one in the world who loves this school as much as Léon. That's one of the coolest things. He'll be a Sun Devil for life."

With a bigger role, Behm will have a bigger impact on every swimmer. He and his staff think they can restructure training to improve it for everyone on the roster. 

With the situation being dropped on him so fast, he said the team has been supportive. They have been changing as he changes and are just figuring it out with him. Bowman is also right behind Behm in this adventure. After Bowman left for Texas, he made high remarks about the ship's new captain. 

"Herbie is the brightest young coach in America, and becoming the head coach at ASU is the perfect opportunity for him," Bowman said. "He was my trusted partner in building our championship program, and he will lead the Sun Devils to many more milestones in the future. I couldn't be happier for Herbie or ASU.

No one expected such a drastic change so fast, so there have been many emotions, but Behm said he hopes everyone thanks Bowman for what he did for the program, respects him and remembers all the good he did at ASU. 

Behm is already using the whistle. He has been training with swimmers in preparation for the Olympic Trials. 

"Oh, it's incredible," Behm said on ASU being represented at the Olympics. "Again, that's like, hopefully, will be a dream come true. Seeing everyone reach their potential is what we want, if they do that at the Olympics then that's incredible."

Edited by Vinny Deangelis, Shane Brennan and Grace Copperthite.

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