Takes over as the program’s second head coach after three seasons at SUNY New Paltz
EASTON, Mass. (September 23, 2022) – Stonehill College has named Matthew Distler head coach of the women’s swimming program as the Skyhawks are beginning their transition to the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Northeast Conference. The announcement was made by Dean O’Keefe, ’94Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics at the College.
“We are thrilled to welcome Matthew Distler as the second head coach of our women’s swimming program during this exciting time for our College as it begins its transition to NCAA Division I,” said O’Keefe. “Matthew brings the passion and energy that will be needed to elevate the women’s swimming program here at Stonehill, and will provide our student-athletes a mentor who will foster a culture of personal growth and development in the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.”
Distler joins Stonehill after three years as head men’s and women’s swimming coach at SUNY New Paltz, his alma mater. He guided the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, which canceled the Hawks 2020-21 season, but led the women’s program to a 6-5 dual record over two seasons, placing fourth out of ten teams competing at the 2022 SUNY Athletic Conference ( SUNYAC) Championships after posting a 3-1 dual meet record. New Paltz finished third of nine at the 2020 SUNYAC Championships, while the men’s program was fourth in 2020 and third in 2022. Distler coached 11 All-SUNYAC performers over his two competitive seasons as head coach of the Hawks women’s program, while 11 men earned All-SUNYAC accolades over his two seasons, including first team honoree Jared Finn in 2020, winning the 200-yard freestyle.
“I want to thank the Stonehill search committee, especially Dean O’Keefeand Cindy MacDonaldfor giving me the opportunity to join the Stonehill family,” said Distler. “I cannot begin to express how excited I am to help lead this new program through its transition to Division I and help these student athletes reach their goals.”
Distler takes over at Stonehill after a stint as head coach of the men’s and women’s programs at SUNY New Paltz, his alma mater. (PHOTO COURTESY SUNY New Paltz)
Prior to taking over as head coach at SUNY New Paltz, he served two years as assistant coach. He helped the Hawks to a 4-2 record and fourth place finish at the SUNYAC Championships on the women’s side with six All-SUNYAC performers.
The Glens Falls, New York, native earned his Bachelor’s Degree from New Paltz in 2015. Distler attended SUNY Cortland from 2010-2013, where he was a SUNYAC Champion in the 200 freestyle, and the 200 and 800 freestyle relays in 2011. In his time at Cortland, he volunteered as a coach for the University’s Adaptive Swim Team. As a swimmer at New Paltz, Distler was named team captain and MVP in his lone season with the Hawks.
In his time in New Paltz, he was the Shawangunk Master’s swim team assistant coach in 2014-2015, and then head coach in 2015-2016. Distler was an assistant coach for the New Paltz Hawks Swim Club from 2014-2016. He worked as an assistant coach for the Glens Falls Varsity Swimming teams, and the Glens Falls YMCA Gators.
Stonehill opens its 2022-23, its second full intercollegiate season, on Saturday, October 1, when it hosts its annual Purple & White Meet at Massasoit Community College at noon. The Skyhawks will then officially open its season two weeks later, when it hosts fellow Northeast Conference member Merrimack College at Massasoit on Saturday, October 15, at noon, marking the first official home meet in program history. Stonehill will compete at its first NEC Swimming & Diving Championships, hosted by Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, February 21-25, 2023.
Stonehill, a transitioning NCAA Division I institution as a member of the Northeast Conference, offers 23 varsity intercollegiate athletic programs, with women’s ice hockey set to begin competition in the New England Women’s Collegiate Hockey Alliance for the 2022-23 season. Stonehill, which began its four-year Division I acclimation period and NEC membership on July 1, has won the NCAA Division II Northeast-10 Conference Presidents’ Cup six times, finishing in the top three in the final standings 15 of the last 17 years , and is one of just ten institutions nationwide to receive the NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Achievement, recognizing athletic departments with an Academic Success rating of 90-percent or better, each of the first ten years of the program’s existence.
Stonehill teams have earned 118 NCAA Tournament bids over its history, also regularly sending student-athletes to compete at the NCAA Championships in men’s and women’s track & field. Women’s lacrosse has won two NCAA National Championships in 2003 and 2005, and Corey Thomas, ’13 won the indoor high jump national title at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Equestrian captured the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Hunter Seat National Championship in 2003 and collected several individual national championships over the course of its history as well.
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