With the 2016 Olympics wrapped up, Michael Phelps prepares for his next challenge: Arizona State University (ASU).
The most decorated Olympian in history will join ASU's swim team as a volunteer assistant coach, working under the man who helped him win 28 Olympic medals, head coach Bob Bowman.
The 42 universities with student-athletes in Rio
Phelps followed Bowman to ASU last year to continue training with him through the Rio games, at which point Phelps planned to retire and move elsewhere with his fiancée. But in Arizona, he says he found relief training outside under the desert sun. So now he owns a house and says he wants to work with the students.
How to recognize and encourage student involvement
"With these college kids, I remember exactly when I was their age and what I was doing. Hopefully I can make them better swimmers and better people," Phelps told ASU Now.
Having Phelps training at ASU has already proved useful for recruiting prospective students; it's likely that having him coach there will only magnify that effect.
Is your website helping or hurting your recruitment efforts?
"It will be interesting to see his transition to being a coach," Bowman told the Associated Press. "He's so knowledgeable, which will be a huge advantage. But he'll have to learn a few things about how to communicate the knowledge he has. He'll probably have to be a little more patient than he'd like to be."
The patience aspect "might be a struggle," Phelps admits.
But, "he knows what the process is all about, and I think he'll be able to transmit that information to our student athletes," Bowman says.
And Phelps may not be the only Olympian sticking around. Fellow Team USA swimmer Allison Schmitt has indicated she will also remain at ASU, where she trained this year, to pursue a master's degree in psychology (Flaherty, "Early Lead," 12/26/15; AP/USA Today, 1/15; Faller, "Sun Devil Life," ASU Now, 2/9; Newman, Cronkite News, 8/14; Espinoza, Chicago Tribune, 8/17; Loumena, Los Angeles Times, 8/17).
Next in Today's Briefing
More higher ed funding cuts may be on the way