Marsh Comments on Rumor He Is Leaving

Auburn, Ala.--The most successful coach in Auburn University history told Inside the Auburn Tigers on Thursday that rumors that he is about to leave as head coach of the men's and women's swimming teams are inaccurate.

"It is true that I have another offer with a private swimming club in Charlotte (North Carolina) and that I have been advising the club about hiring personnel, but that is all that it is at this time," Marsh says.

However, Marsh adds that he is only committed to coaching the Tigers through the current 2006-2007 season and could not promise that he would return for the 2007-2008 season.

The coach's teams opened the season last week with dual meet victories over LSU and both are expected to challenge for the 2007 SEC and national championships. Marsh notes that he is committed to coaching both squads this season and says that the Tigers are developing nicely early in the season.

The coach has directed Auburn teams to 10 NCAA titles, including last year's men's national championship and women's national championship. For the men's team, it was the fourth straight national championship. For the women's team, it was the third NCAA title in the past four seasons. Under his guidance, Auburn has turned out a steady stream of world class performers in the last decade.

Marsh says he hopes the focus with his program this week will be on his swimmers that he is particularly proud of who will be featured this weekend as the Auburn football team plays host to the University of Florida, one of the colleges that in the past that has tried to hire Marsh away from Auburn. "They are being recognized on the field at halftime and hopefully a lot of the fans will stay in their seats to support them for the job they have done for Auburn," the coach says.

Both the men's and women's swimming teams have also been invited to participate in the football team's Tiger Walk with the national champion women's track and field team. One of the stars of last year's men's team, Doug van Wie, will be honored at halftime with the Cliff Hare Award, the highest honor presented annually to an Auburn male athlete.

Marsh gets a hug from television analyst and former Auburn star and Olympic gold medal winner Rowdy Gaines after the Tigers won their fourth straight men's NCAA title this past spring.

After the 2005 season, Marsh had concerns about the level of support for Auburn's program and he visited West Coast power Stanford to talk to them about a job at that college, but decided to stay at his alma mater, where Marsh was an All-American for the Tigers.

The women's team celebrates its dramatic win in the 2006 NCAA meet as the Tigers took the lead on the final relay.

After meeting with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, Marsh said, "I was very pleased with his desire to want to hear all of the challenges that we face. They can't all be addressed immediately, but in time I think we are going to move in a very positive direction."

One of the challenges Marsh mentioned in 2005 was a concern about the often-delayed outdoor training pool planned his team. Even though bids for the project came in over budget and the project is likely to be delayed again, the coach said he is hopeful work on the pool will get started without a major delay.

The men's team takes its traditional "We're No. 1 Plunge" into the pool in Atlanta where the Tigers won a fourth straight NCAA title this year.

After Marsh committed to stay at Auburn, athletic director Jay Jacobs said, "When you have a guy like David Marsh, an Auburn guy with all of the things he has done with all the national championships, I am probably more excited than he is that he will stay here with us. In addition to what he has done to enrich the lives of our student-athletes, the community, his church, the athletics department and Auburn University, you have got to have a guy like him. It just wouldn't be right for him to be anywhere but here

"We are going to do a career contract," Jacobs adds. "It was not a tough thing at all. In fact, it was relatively easy. He and I are on the same page. I am going to do everything I can to help him continue win championships and graduate 100 percent of his athletes. I am excited about it. He is a class guy."

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