CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland State University head men's and women's swimming & diving coach Hannah Burandt announced the hiring of Pieter Ritz as an assistant coach Wednesday afternoon.
Ritz, who owns seven years of collegiate coaching experience, returns to his alma mater as he swam for the Vikings from 2008-12.
"I am beyond excited to bring Pieter back home to CSU to complete the process of surrounding our student-athletes with a 'dream team' staff," Burandt said. "Beyond being an alumnus and having a deep love and commitment for our swimming & diving program, Pieter brings expertise and insight that will be instrumental in reaching our visions and goals.
Ritz spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator at the University of Cincinnati, playing a significant role in helping turn around the fortunes of both the men's and women's programs.
After placing last in the league in the season prior to his arrival, the men's program won their first two conference championships in program history the last two years as the Bearcats won the 2018 and 2019 American Athletic Conference titles. On the women's side, Cincinnati went from a fifth-place effort the season prior to Ritz's arrival before garnering back-to-back runner-up finishes the past two seasons.
UC claimed seven individual men's swimming titles at the 2019 AAC Championships while a Bearcat also was named Men's Most Outstanding Swimmer for the first time in school history.
During the 2017-18 season, 25 Bearcats were named All-AAC while eight claimed individual conference titles as the UC men won a conference championship relay for the first time.
Outstanding individual efforts were not uncommon in Ritz's tenure at UC as Jacqueline Keire was a First Team All-American and won back-to-back AAC Most Outstanding Swimmer honors while Chris Bready became the first male Bearcat to qualify for the NCAA Championships in seven years in 2017.
Ritz served as the site director for the USA Central Zone Swimming Select Camp and also led the organization and planning of the Cincinnati Swim Camps.
"I'm very excited to be coming back to my alma mater," Ritz said. "I'm looking forward to assisting in the program that Hannah is building while working alongside the rest of the staff to help continue the success of Cleveland State University swimming & diving. Let's go Vikes!"
Prior to Cincinnati, Ritz spent one season as the volunteer assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast University. During his time at FGCU, the Lady Eagles were crowned conference champions in 2015 and qualified seven women to the NCAA Championships. The Eagles' 200 medley relay team also earned First Team All-America status with their finish at NCAA's.
Ritz began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Henderson State University where he oversaw recruiting and managed the scholarship budget. During his two seasons at Henderson State, the program sent a total of six student-athletes to the NCAA Division II Championships.
Ritz was a four-year letter-winner for the Vikings, where he earned the swimming program's Leadership Award in his senior season. He also served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council for three years at CSU.
"I'm so excited that Pieter is back at his alma mater," legendary former head coach and special assistant to the Athletics Director Wally Morton said. "He loves the sport of swimming. He eats, sleeps and lives it. As a swimmer for me, no one outworked him day in and day out. He is relentless in accomplishing his goals, and he does it all with joy and a smile on his face."
A native of Fort Myers, Fla., Ritz graduated from Cleveland State with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012. He proceeded to earn a Master of Science degree in sports administration from Henderson State in 2014.