Erica McClurg, the coach of Arcadia High’s swim and dive team for the past 25 years, is retiring after this year’s season.
McClurg is an Arizona native and was born and raised in the Arcadia neighborhood. She is also an Arcadia High alum. She swam and ran track while in high school and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in exercise and sports science.
After college, McClurg took a job with Macaroni Grill, where she remained for several years.
“At Macaroni Grill, I ended up being a trainer, which meant I traveled around the country and opened up new restaurants,” McClurg said. “While this was my first introduction to teaching, I didn’t give the idea of teaching any consideration or thought at that time.”
Her restaurant career had taken her to Colorado, and after tiring of the cold winters, she moved back to Arizona and returned to work at the Macaroni Grill in Scottsdale.
That first spring back in Arizona, McClurg’s old track coach at Arcadia High asked if she wanted to come back and help out the athletic department. When she expressed an interest, he offered her an assistant coaching position.
"I hope that I’ve made swimming a positive and fun experience for all those students I’ve coached and, in the process, created special memories for them."
“I immediately fell in love with coaching,” McClurg said, “and I reasoned that if I was going to coach, then I should go back to school and earn my teaching degree, which I did at ASU.”
McClurg earned her certification in physical education and science and began her academic career at Arcadia as a P.E. teacher. Eventually she earned a chemistry certification, which allowed her to teach AP and honors chemistry.
After coaching track that first spring, she was asked to coach the swim and dive team.
“That was the autumn of 1996,” McClurg said, “and now, 25 years later, this seemed a great time to retire from coaching. I’ve had a great career, and I’ve loved every moment of it.”
During her tenure, she won Coach of the Year multiple times, led her team to several state championships, and, in 2000, Arcadia High was named swim team of the century by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, given they had won the most championships.
McClurg will continue to teach chemistry, as she has three more years until full retirement. She also plans to focus more time on the National Honor Society, which she sponsors with another teacher. And in her free time, she hopes to plant a garden.
She’s helping to hire a new swim and dive coach to ensure the team she has built is maintained.
“Our swim and dive group is such a family team,” McClurg said. “When there have been multiple swimmers at different ages in a particular family, I’ve often been involved with those parents and kids for up to ten years. I hope that I’ve made swimming a positive and fun experience for all those students I’ve coached and, in the process, created special memories for them.”