ECU names Jabs as next swimming and diving coach

Matt Jabs ( photo)

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - It's hard to follow a legend, but Matthew Jabs is a good option and is ready for the challenge.

East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced Wednesday that Jabs will take over for Rick Kobe as the school's next swimming and diving coach. Kobe will be retiring on July 1 after 37 years as coach. "I am extremely excited that Matt Jabs will be the next head swimming and diving coach for our women's and men's programs," Compher said. "Matt has been a part of our program for many years, both as a student-athlete and as an assistant coach. He understands the outstanding competitive and academic history that has been a part of our programs. I am confident that under his leadership these traditions of excellence will continue as he builds his own legacy." Jabs, a four-year letterman and two-time recipient of the Pirates' Most Outstanding Male Swimmer Award, has been an assistant coach of the combined men and women's program at ECU since completing his bachelor degree requirements in 2001. He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach before becoming a graduate assistant coach. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach in 2003. He spent nine seasons as a full-time assistant with the Pirates, including eight as the program's lead assistant before being elevated to associate head coach in 2013. During that time the Pirates captured three men's American Athletic Conference titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017, while the women won a pair of league championships in 2001 (ECAC) and 2003 (Conference USA). As a member of the coaching staff in 2013-14, Jabs helped the women's squad post the only undefeated regular season by an ECU female athletic program in school history. Neither the men nor women's teams experienced a losing dual meet campaign during Jabs' tenure. "I would like to thank Jeff Compher for this opportunity," Jabs said. "I'm also grateful to (associate director of athletics) Lee Workman, the search committee and all those involved in this process for their belief in me. I must also thank Rick Kobe for not only what he has done for the program, but for me personally and professionally. I am thankful to have had the chance to learn from one of the best. He undoubtedly leaves big shoes to fill, but I'm confident in my ability to lead the program into the future. "My first goal is to be better than we have been, which will require a lot of hard work from myself, my staff and our team. The ECU Swimming and Diving program has never backed down from a challenge, nor have we ever been satisfied with our accomplishments. We will always work to improve upon our past and strive for sustained excellence." Jabs has coached multiple NCAA Championship meet participants and individual conference champions. In addition, the athletes he has mentored have posted 196 ECU top-10 career performances and accounted for 35 records. His swimmers have also been the recipients of ECU's Most Outstanding Swimmer Award seven times and its Most Improved Swimmer Award eight times. "An absolute perfect hire," Kobe said. "Pirates swimming and diving is in great hands. I couldn't be more pleased. Matt is one of the most respected coaches in the country and will take the program to even greater heights." Jabs worked as an assistant coach with the developmental group of the Greenville Swim Club during the 2003-04 season and served as an activity instructor in the ECU Department of Exercise and Sports Science for six years. Jabs graduated from East Carolina University in 2001 with a degree in exercise and sports science with a minor in recreation and leisure studies, and earned his master's in athletic and physical education administration two years later.

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