After 27 years of steadfast coaching by coach Keith Havens, Albion College has announced that it is hiring Jake Taber as the new coach for swimming and diving.
Taber was the head coach at Olivet College for five seasons before taking over as head coach for the Britons. While at Olivet, Taber coached swimmers to 12 individual MIAA championships and two team MIAA championships, while watching his athletes break 34 school records, according to an Albion College press release.
“I grew up in Battle Creek, and I’ve had family members and friends that attended Albion College,” Taber said. “It was a school that I was aware of before I even went away to school. This is a desirable place to coach at, and I’ve been involved in MIAA swimming, at some capacity, for the last eleven years, whether it was being an athlete, an assistant coach or a head coach.”
Kara Bowers, Ann Arbor first-year, had a strong season this year and is looking forward the enthusiasm that Taber intends to bring to the Britons.
“I feel like Keith [Havens] influenced a lot of the team chemistry and atmosphere,” Bowers said. “I’m excited. I feel like coach Taber will bring a lot of character and energy to our program, and I feel like he’s really ready to make something great.”
Taber swam competitively at Hope College from 2000 to 2004 and was MIAA champion in the 200 freestyle, as well as an honorable mention “All American.”
Because Taber coached in the MIAA, he was familiar with Albion’s program. Following the announcement of coach Havens‘ retirement, Taber began to eye the Albion job.
“This is a great place with a lot of tradition and I was aware of the opening and after discussing it with my wife, we decided that we should evaluate it,” Taber said. “I would discuss the job with some of my colleagues across the country, and we talked about the possibility of my taking up the job, and I was very upfront with them.”
The sense of pride and school spirit that embodies Albion College sports impressed coach Taber.
“I’m looking forward to the new coaching experiences that he is going to bring to our program,” said Brad Melpolder, Hamilton sophomore. “It’s going to be tough with coach Havens’ leaving because he was here for so long, but I feel like [coach Taber] is a perfect fit to pick up where coach Havens’ left off.”
Photo Courtesy of Albion College