Mike Orstein is no stranger to the world of aquatics, a sport that he has been a part of his entire life. His 415-168-1 record at W&J makes him the most successful swimming and diving coach in the college’s history.
He earned his 400th career victory at W&J during the 2011-12, while also coaching four student-athletes to individual conference championships, including diver Bethany Haver '12, who made her second-straight appearance at the NCAA Division III National Championships.
Coach Orstein’s continued success has also been recognized at the national level, as he was awarded the prestigious Master Coach Award at the May 1996 College Swimming Coaches of America Association’s (CSCAA) national convention. This honor was only conferred upon eight NCAA coaches that year.
Recently, Orstein has been honored by the American Swimming Coaches Association with a Certificate of Excellence for outstanding achievement (2006-2008).
Coach Orstein’s career record, which has spanned 29 years, is 475-193-2. During the 2008-2009 season, he passed a major milestone as he earned his 400th college swimming victory.
Coach Orstein has been at the helm of the swimming and diving programs at W&J for the past 25 years, and has earned the Presidents' Athletic Conference Swimming Coach of the Year award an impressive 15 times. His other accomplishments during his career at the college include producing eight national champions, 17 All-Americans, 33 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship qualifiers and 239 PAC Champions. He has coached teams to nine PAC titles, 197 school records, and 58 conference records.
During the 2010-11 season, Haver earned a pair of First All-America awards after placing among the top eight finishers (5th, 3-meter; 7th 1-meter) at the NCAA Division III Diving Championships.
An equally impressive and important accomplishment is his team’s success out of the water. Coach Orstein’s teams have consistently earned CSCAA All-Academic recognition for having one of the highest GPA’s in the country.
His most prized possession is being honored with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Distinguished Service Award for outstanding leadership on January 17, 2005, by Washington & Jefferson College.
Prior to coming to Washington and Jefferson College, Coach Orstein served as the Athletic Director at York Country Day School and Head Women’s Swimming Coach at York College (PA). During his tenure there he built the York team into a regional Division III power, earned a winning percentage of .847, and rewrote the college’s record books.
From 1979-1982 Coach Orstein gained international experience through his position in Bermuda as the first Aquatics Director at Warwick Academy. During his time in Bermuda, he coached numerous national champions and record holders, and was integral in the revival of water polo through his position as the player/coach for the Belmont team.
In much the same way, Orstein was responsible for the emergence of water polo at W&J when he secured a $60,000 grant from the USOC in April 1999. This victory came after eight years of effort on Coach Orstein’s part to bring the sport to the college. During his four seasons as head coach, both men’s and women’s teams were ranked nationally in the Top 10 every year. The women’s team traveled to the Collegiate III National Championships, where they finished 7th in 2000 and 6th in 2001. In this short amount of time the team produced three All-Americans. Orstein also received the honor of being named the Division III Tournament Championships Coach of the Year in 2002 and as well as earning CWPA Southern Division Coach of the Year that same season.
Prior to Coach Orstein’s involvement in the successful water polo program, he served as the W&J men’s and women’s track and field coach. Under Orstein, Jaimee Heffner became the first W&J female athlete to win an individual NCAA championship when she won the 1997 Division III Championship in the women’s javelin. She ended her career at W&J with honors including being a four time All-American, nomination as one of 10 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, and the reception of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award.
Orstein’s athletic accomplishments are nearly as weighty as his achievement in coaching. He is a four time All-American swimmer from Springfield College (Mass.), where he completed both his B.S. and M.Ed. in Physical Education.
Coach Orstein was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he was an All-State swimmer, an All-District III track and field athlete, and a graduate of Manheim Township High School.
Coach Orstein has been happily married to his wife Heather for 30 years. They reside in Mt. Lebanon. Mike and Heather are the proud parents of their two children, Jepthah and Kaitlyn. Jepthah is a 2004 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College and a 2008 graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law. He is a successful lawyer in Pittsburgh. Kaitlyn, a 2008 W&J graduate, was an eight-time Division III national champion who ranked as one of nation's top performers in any division.