Florida promoted Associate Head Coach Anthony Nesty to lead the men’s swimming and diving program and Associate Head Coach Jeff Poppell to lead the women’s program, the school announced Monday. Both are replacements for longtime head coach Gregg Troy.
Both men have more than 20-plus years of coaching experience, are internationally acclaimed, having both coached and competed at the highest levels abroad and in the Southeastern Conference. Both have tutored multiple Olympians during their coaching careers and have guided athletes to both national championships and numerous All-America honors.
“We are fortunate to have two outstanding coaches, who are already heavily invested in the Florida swim programs, in a position to step up and provide leadership and continuity for our student-athletes going forward,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in a school release. “The more we studied potential candidates to replace Coach Troy, it became obvious that the best choice was to provide Anthony and Jeff the opportunity to lead the Gators.
“Having won six-straight SEC championships, our men have had a run of high-level success, and I’m confident Anthony can continue putting them in position to compete with the best. Meanwhile, our women have developed some momentum in the last couple years, both in the pool and in recruiting, that Jeff has been an important part of creating. I’m looking forward to seeing him build off that momentum and get the Gators women back to a championship level.
Nesty is entering his 21st season as a coach at Florida and it is his 25th season involved with the Gators after finishing one of the most decorated swimming careers at UF from 1989-92.
Under Nesty’s tutelage, Florida athletes have garnered 1,148 All-America honors and won 43 individual national championships. He has coached eight SEC Championship teams and UF athletes have accumulated 177 SEC titles during his tenure.
“It is with tremendous humility that I accept the position of Head Coach for the men’s swimming & diving team at the University of the Florida,” said Nesty. “This day is very special to me, as I am a Florida alumni.
The Paramaribo, Suriname, native has coached the men’s team to a top-10 finish at NCAAs for the last 19 seasons, including a fifth-place finish in 2018. Nesty has guided the men’s team to two top-3 finishes over the last 20 seasons as well.
“I am fervently passionate about continuing the Florida tradition of excellence in our sport,” said Nesty. “It is my goal to maintain and surpass the standard Gregg Troy and others before him set for the premium program in the country.”
Poppell joined the Gator staff in 2016 after 23 years coaching at various elite places around the country. He now enters his 26th season coaching and third with the Gator program. While with UF, athletes have won nine individual national titles, 19 SEC titles and garnered 67 All-American honors. Poppell has also served as the recruiting coordinator for the women’s team, whose incoming class is ranked third in the nation by SwimSwam.
“I am deeply honored to have been named the next head women’s swimming coach at the University of Florida,” Poppell said. “I would like to thank Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin and Senior Associate Athletic Director Mike Spiegler for their trust in allowing me to lead this program.”
During his 15 years of head coaching experience, he has coached athletes at the club, high school and the Southeastern Conference level. Poppell has coached Olympians, SEC champions, as well as national and state championships.
The Jacksonville native served as a head women’s coach at the University of Arkansas from 2006-12. While there, Poppell helped the Razorback women’s program reach new heights after guiding 16 athletes to qualify individually for NCAA Championships, with 10 of these women earning 10 NCAA All-America honors under his tutelage. Arkansas’ fifth-place finish at the 2009 SEC Championships was the highest finish in program history.
Troy announced his retirement from collegiate coaching in late April to focus on developing elite swimmers who are aiming toward the Olympics.