The 2016-2017 season marks the 15th year of Neil Virtue as head coach of the Mills College Cyclones swimming team. He also teaches fitness and intermediate swimming PE classes and is the advisor to the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC).
During the tenure of Virtue, the swimming team has set new school records in all but one event, achieving a total of 214 Top 10 all-time swims, including 56 school records. Virtue coached seven consecutive seasons of national qualifiers for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Championships between 2004 and 2007. The team received the NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Award in 2005, 2009 and 2011.
Out of the pool, the swimming team has been recognized with a superior rating by the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for maintaining a GPA of at least 3.30 or higher in every semester at Mills and achieved the highest GPA in the country among NCAA Division III women’s swimming programs for the fall semester of 2011.
Each year Mills Swimming volunteers at, participates in, and hosts swimming clinics for the Women’s Cancer Resource Center Swim-a-Mile, raising more than $40,000 over the last decade.
Prior to Mils, Virtue was a graduate assistant coach at University of Missouri where he helped with on deck coaching, some recruiting and administrative duties. Before Missouri, Virtue had head coaching experiences at the club and high school level in Montana, Arizona and Seattle. While in Seattle he was a four-time letter winner on the University of Washington swimming team. After his fourth year of swimming at UW, Virtue moved to the southwest to be a head age group coach in Tempe, AZ where he finished his degree in Zoology at Arizona State University. Virtue was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico .
Virtue’s broad range of interests span wide: he has done coursework in adaptive aquatics, he studies Afro Cuban folkloric percussion, and has volunteered at the Berkeley Free Health Clinic as Peer Counselor. Virtue presented on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Issues in Sport at a NCAA Life Skills Conference and at the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERED). Virtue loves living in Oakland.