New UW-La Crosse swim coach Steve Mohs prioritizing family culture

Steve Mohs

Just like King, Mohs comes to UW-La Crosse with Division-I coaching experience.

“Last year I served as an assistant coach at Illinois State, and then the year before that, I bounced around a little bit, but the University of South Dakota,” Mohs said.

He was also a D-III head coach at Saint Catherine from 2008-12, but when UWL offered him the job this past summer, he couldn’t turn it down.

“I think a lot of my athletes were wondering why I wanted to come back to the Division-III level, and part of it is you’re getting a really good academically-rooted kid that really wants to continue to swim,” Mohs said. “Sometimes the Division-I athlete has that idea that they have to do it because they’re being paid because of an athletic scholarship. But all my kids [here], they want to be here.”

His first month was all about getting to meet the 68 swimmers on the men and women’s teams, and so he called in the existing team captains to help with the transition.

“I think [one of] my first priorities was to establish a captains’ meeting every week,” Mohs said.

Captains Hans Hover and Maria Vaudreuil say those meetings are to make sure everyone on the team is holding up with the training schedule and in a good place overall.

“He treats us all like family, so it’s actually been quite easy for everyone to get adjusted to Steve. I think that it’s going really well so far,” Hover said.

For Mohs, his new swim team is like a second family, and there are days when both families come together.

“He brings his son to practice, like his 3-month-old son,” the senior Vaudreuil said. “Oh my gosh, we love that.”

While the action in the pool comes down to an individual, the family culture Mohs is starting to build will make sure that no one really swims alone.

“Something–kind of a mantra of the season–that Steve brought in was we’ll always win the support game,” Vaudreuil said. “You see someone not have such a good race, you talk to them. You see someone have a great race, you talk to them. You congratulate them. No one’s swims go unnoticed.

“[Coach Mohs] is just great. He’s done a really good job at making it a focus on community and family.”

The swim team next participates in the Orange Bowl Swim Classic in Florida on Friday. This is the first time UWL is competing at this event, in which they’ll be going up against D-I programs like Florida International and Michigan.