BOSTON – James Sica, who has been instrumental in the success of the MIT swimming & diving programs for the past six years, has been named the head swimming & diving coach at Boston University, as announced by director of athletics Drew Marrochello on Thursday.
Sica has served as the Engineers’ associate head coach for the past two seasons, including a semester as acting head coach, after joining the staff in 2017. In his six years, the Engineers won every men’s and women’s team conference championship contested and never finished outside of the top 10 at the NCAA Championships. Prior to MIT, Sica was an assistant at Carnegie Mellon, Harvard and his alma mater, Ithaca College.
“We are excited to welcome James to the BU Athletics family,” said Marrochello. “His coaching career is filled with stops at prestigious institutions, and it’s clear he’s driven to develop true scholar-athletes. He has enjoyed a strong run during his tenure at MIT and as we got to learn more about him and his coaching philosophy, it’s apparent that one of his top strengths is his ability to connect with and mentor athletes. We look forward to James guiding a new era for our swimming & diving programs.”
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the next head coach for swimming & diving at Boston University,” said Sica. “Throughout the entire search process it was clear that BU Athletics emphasizes excellence in all aspects of the student-athlete experience. I am excited to contribute to the swim & dive program’s future success while creating a student-athlete experience that enriches the world-class academic opportunities that Boston University has to offer.
“I want to thank Drew Marrochello and the entire search committee for trusting me to step in and add to the legacy of BU Swimming & Diving. I cannot wait to get to work with the amazing young adults who make this program and the BU community so special.”
Sica replaces Bill Smyth, who retired from coaching in February after serving as head coach at BU for the past 18 years.
While serving as acting head coach for the second half of the 2021-22 season, Sica led the Engineers to men’s and women’s NEWMAC titles, two top-10 NCAA finishes and four NCAA champions, the most MIT has won in a single season in program history. He went on to earn NEWMAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year honors for his efforts.
This past season, the MIT men had the highest team GPA in the country in the fall (3.82) and went on to earn their highest finish at NCAAs (fifth) since the 2017-18 season. The women finished eighth in the nation and had their highest point total in program history at both the NCAA Championships (222 points) and NEWMAC Championships (1,441).
In 2018-19, the men’s team posted the top GPA in the country for both the fall (3.78) and spring (3.76) semesters, and also had 17 individuals named to the Scholar All-America team, tying for most in the country across all divisions.
In his first season with the Engineers, both teams had top-six finishes at the NCAAs with the women earning their highest point total to date (211).
Sica came to MIT from Carnegie Mellon, where he served as an assistant coach from 2015-17. Prior to his time with the Tartans, Sica was a volunteer assistant coach for Harvard’s women’s program for the 2014-15 season in addition to being the associate head coach of the Cambridge Masters Swim Club.
A 2012 graduate from Ithaca as a double major in writing and English, Sica was a member of the Bombers’ back-to-back UNYSSCA championships in 2011 and 2012 and was voted as team captain as a senior. He stayed on as an assistant coach at Ithaca from 2012-14 while completing a master’s degree in sport and exercise science with a concentration in sport psychology.