Head Coach Nancy Luley
Nancy Luley begins her third season as the head men’s and women’s swimming coach at Messiah College in 2010-2011, looking to improve on what has been a continual wave of success since the program’s inaugural season in ‘08-‘09.
In just two years of existence, Messiah swimming can already boast of a pair of MAC Champions, a MAC Rookie of the Year and a pair of incredibly impressive team performances in the MAC Championships. In the Falcons’ first year in the water, Messiah’s men’s team captured a fifth-place finish in the league meet. Last year, despite bringing just 12 athletes to the competition, the squad finished fourth out of 10 teams.
Overall, the Messiah men’s team finished with a 7-5 record in 2009-2010, becoming the first winning swimming team in the program’s short history. The women’s team — which set nine new school records in ’09-’10 — finished with a 3-9 record overall.
“I can’t put into words how incredible these first two years have been,” Luley said. “Our swimmers are really starting to see the payoffs for their hard work. There is no question we have exceeded expectations. We have begun to really compete at the conference level, and our improvement over two short seasons has been remarkable. I think everyone within the program is excited about the direction we are moving. We are going to continue to get better and better.”
Luley arrived to Messiah in 2008 after serving as the Mechanicsburg Area High School head boys’ and girls’ swimming coach for the previous two years, serving as Mechanicsburg’s varsity assistant coach for the eight years before that.
While her first collegiate coaching position, Luley made her presence felt immediately, garnering 16 men and 21 women to the team for the Falcons’ first season of competition. In year number two, Luley recruited Drew Wissler — the 2009-2010 MAC Rookie of the Year — and Dylan Holford, the program’s first-ever MAC Champions.
“I am honored to be chosen for this position,” Luley said upon her hiring. “It’s an amazing opportunity to start a program from scratch. I’m very excited to be part of the Messiah community. There aren’t many chances in life to start something from the ground up. I am excited for that challenge.”
Named the Carlisle Sentinel’s 2008 Swim Coach of the Year, Luley helped guide her Mechanicsburg girls’ team to an undefeated, 11-0 record in 2007-2008, leading her boys’ team to an 8-3 record overall. Mechanicsburg placed swimmers to PIAA State Competition in every year of Luley’s tenure as both a head and assistant coach, while she estimates an average of three to four swimmers went on to swim at the college level each year.
Luley jointly served as the head coach of the Mechanicsburg Swim Club for three years, a youth program for swimmers ages five to 19. Prior to taking over that club, Luley served as an assistant coach at the prestigious West Shore YMCA for five years.
Luley describes her coaching style as nurturing, with a strong emphasis on academics. During her tenure at Mechanicsburg High School, Luley’s teams maintained a steady presence on the honor roll. She is a lifetime member of the American Swim Coaches Association and National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association.
“We need to make our name in the pool,” Luley said of her opportunity at Messiah. “I’m going to encourage kids to be leaders. It’s not often that you get a chance to establish something bigger than yourself. Usually you step into a program that already has a history. We have a chance to start a tradition here. And that is truly special.”
Luley graduated from Penn State University in 1977. She is married to her husband, Rich, and they have four children: Ben, Kate, Anne and Erin. Erin was one of Luley’s best swimmers at Mechanicsburg, placing third in the 2006 500-meter freestyle state championships and sixth in the 200-meter freestyle championships.