Apr 272011
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

When John Mattos started coaching at CSU, the “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” had just been released in theaters.

Mattos announced Wednesday he would retire effective July 1, 2011 after 31 years at the helm of the Rams women’s swimming program.

During his tenure, Mattos has coached 13 All-Americans, won six conference championships and was named the NCAA Division I coach of the year in 1994. That year he led the Rams to a 12th place finish at the NCAA championships while future Olympian Amy Van Dyken won the 50-meter freestyle with a U.S. record time of 21.77 seconds.

“The expression on her face and her gestures that she made when she looked at the scoreboard and saw that she won,” Mattos said, “it was a real special moment.”

Mattos’ 31-year stretch makes him the longest tenured coach in the history of the CSU Athletic Department.

“There isn’t one thing that is the same at this point in time,” he said. “The campus has changed, the population has changed; about the only thing that’s stayed the same is my pool.”

Moby Pool opened in 1966 along with the basketball arena and has only received general improvements over the years rather than radical renovations.

“That Moby Arena pool has been like a home,” Mattos said. “It feels good to set foot in it every day and have my girls training in it every day.”

Mattos retires as the winningest coach in program history, posting a 221-103 record all time in dual meets at CSU.

The decision to retire has been pondered for quite some time, according to Mattos, but had become more prevalent in the last few weeks before Wednesday’s announcement.

He told the team of his intentions on April 18, more than a week before making a public announcement.

“(The hardest part of retiring) was telling my girls,” Mattos said.

The coaching legacy of Mattos will extend beyond Fort Collins, having served as an assistant coach for the U.S. World Championship team in 1994 and the short course coach for the 2004 squad.

When asked about what kind of legacy he wanted to leave, Mattos replied, “My integrity to my athletes, to CSU, to the NCAA, just doing things the right way.”

Sports writer Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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