Longtime C-M-S Athletic Director Michael Sutton has been named the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America's Ben Franklin Award-winner. Awarded to the individual, or organization, whose efforts and or innovations best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal. Sutton will be recognized at the CSCAA's 57th Annual Awards Banquet on May 8th at the Bahia Resort in San Diego.
“Mike’s belief in the people he serves is his most powerful stroke. He has mentored and inspired innumerable young women and men in the pool, classroom, and life, coached teams to punch above their weight, and built one of the top programs (and facilities) in the country. In all, he has empowered the special leadership abilities of our scholar-athletes. In sum, Mike has demonstrated the singular ability to swim upstream, persevere against all odds, and provide a powerful example for all of us to emulate. We are so proud of him winning this award." – Dr. Hiram Chodosh, President, Claremont McKenna College
For the past forty years Michael Sutton has been a part of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. A 1976 graduate, Sutton served as the head coach for twenty-one seasons before serving another fifteen years as Director of Athletics and Physical Education. The relationships Sutton built have served him well in his current position as CMS’s Director of Advancement.
"Mike Sutton’s achievements as a coach and administrator are due to his innate ability to connect. His swimming and water polo teams were juggernauts in their day, yet when alums return to Claremont they don’t talk about the wins. They talk about the connections, the fun, and loving each other. The Stags cherished their experiences because Coach Sutton taught them to not only compete in the pool, but to embrace the joy of the journey.”– Charlie Griffiths, Head Coach, CMS
During his tenure as director of athletics, CMS teams captured over one hundred SCIAC titles, two National championships and earned six top-25 Director’s Cup finishes standings, including a program-best tenth in 2015-16. In addition to producing championships, Sutton’s visionary leadership has enabled not only to grow to twenty-one intercollegiate sports, thirteen club sports and an expansive intramurals program and physical education department, but sustain success in each area. Under his watch, seventeen of CMS’s twenty-one sports have captured SCIAC titles and today one in six students at Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College participate in intercollegiate athletics at CMS.
Prior to becoming director of athletics at CMS, Sutton spent twenty-one seasons as the Stags’ swimming coach and another nineteen as the men’s water polo coach. Under his watch twenty-two individuals won NCAA titles, six teams had runner-up finishes at the NCAA Championships. In his twenty-one year career CMS teams lost just four SCIAC dual meets against 101 wins. In 1983 Sutton was named CSCAA Men’s Division III Coach-of-the-Year.
Sutton is a current member of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Rules Committee and the past member of the NCAA Water Polo Committee. In 1992 he was the team leader of the 1992 United States Olympic Water Polo Team.
“Mike has an amazing ability to strike just the right balance between coach, teacher, and friend. Balance between a focus on winning, and a focus on the life lessons learned through competition. With most two-sport coaches in water polo and swimming, it is clear that one or the other is more of a priority. Mike accomplished the amazing feat of not only being a championship coach in both sports, but he also made both the polo players and the swimmers believe their sport was the most important to him. Mike is the quintessential mentor whose wisdom and ability to relate to people, and bring people together extends to his players long after their collegiate careers are over. Mike made us better athletes, but more importantly he continues to make everybody he touches a better person.”
– Tom Whittemore, Head Men's Water Polo Coach, Redlands