NBA Head Coach

Posted by North Bay Aquatics on Jun 21 2021 at 12:26PM PDT

Dear NBA Families,

Two months ago, upon the retirement of NBA Founder and Head Coach Ken DeMont, NBA began a national search for a new Head Coach of the NBA Youth Team. After reviewing resumes and cover letters and references for 28 candidates, engaging in search firm interviews of 16 of those candidates and then proceeding with Search Committee interviews with five candidates and hosting two of them for full-day in-person assessments, we have completed the process. Today we are excited to announce to the whole NBA community that Max Byers of WAVE Aquatics in Seattle, Washington has accepted our offer to become the new Youth Head Coach of NBA. Max will formally begin the position when our fall swim season commences, on August 23, 2021. In the next two months, the NBA Board and Don Swartz, who was named as acting Head Coach last fall, will help Max transition to his new role. After August 23, 2021 Don will continue with NBA as a Senior Team Coach. We would like to thank Don for his dedication and leadership as interim Head Coach while we completed this search.

Max Byers is a swimmer. Born and raised in Southern Illinois, he began swimming as a youth for a local summer league team before making the leap to a year-round team as an age-group swimmer at the local YMCA in Edwardsville, IL. Max went on to become an Illinois state champion, a 3-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and a finalist at the U.S. Junior National Swimming Championships. Max continued his swimming at the Division 1 collegiate level at Pennsylvania State University, where he also graduated from their highly-ranked School of Kinesiology.

Max’s coaching tenure over the last eight years includes coaching age-group and senior level swimmers on multiple club teams on the West and East Coast. His experiences firmly demonstrate a wealth of responsibilities in areas that are important to the growth of the NBA youth swim team at all age levels. Currently in his fourth year as Head Age Group Coach at WAVE Aquatics, Max has helped grow the WAVE team, where he now oversees the development of over 180 swimmers in the age-group program. At the same time, Max directly coaches between 25-50 swimmers in the Senior group of the WAVE program six days a week. Max is involved in the dryland training program for the senior swimmers and he has reconstructed the team’s coaching curriculum. Prior to WAVE, Max’s coaching experience included working at Nittany Lion Aquatics Club in Pennsylvania, where he coached State, Sectional, and Junior National Qualifiers for the teams’ Senior group and where he created and ran a dryland training program. Max also spent two years with Metro Aquatics in Tacoma, Washington as the team’s Head Age Group Team. At Metro, Max coached two groups of age-group swimmers and oversaw the growth of the age group program from 45 swimmers to over 100 swimmers training at multiple practice sites. All along the way, Max has handled an array of the administrative tasks necessary to run a team, ranging from coordinating practice times, meet schedules and season plans to managing communications for teams.

Max is excited to relocate to Marin County, which he plans to do this summer, as his parents and sister live in the Bay Area. While Max is very much a student of swimming, he also is an avid reader and enjoys long bike rides (think 100 miles long). As a two-time Iron Man, he understands what it takes to commit and train for lofty goals.

Setting aside Max’s specific skill sets and experiences, our Search Committee and the NBA Board of Directors appreciate Max’s overall approach to coaching and look forward to him bringing this approach to NBA. First, Max has a personal coaching philosophy of developing a team culture centered on the holistic development of the athletes, encouraging swimmers to become the best versions of themselves in and out of the pool. He has had a significant hand in developing this culture at WAVE. Second, Max believes that being a great swimmer requires grit, which entails working hard every day but which also encompasses having the ability to use one’s previous experiences to be better in the future. Max is of the strong mind that it is the coaching staff’s job to create a team culture to assist athletes in developing this grit and that this process necessarily includes the staff’s communicating with each swimmer to understand his/her long-term plan and to develop a plan for how to get there. Finally, Max is a firm believer in communication, not just with the swimmer but the larger community. He believes one of his responsibilities as the Head Coach is to educate parents on club goals and expectations. We eagerly anticipate Max’s ability to thoughtfully communicate and build relationships and to foster connections across swimmers, families and coaches alike. We believe Max understands the importance of these connections and brings an entrepreneurial and growth mindset to his coaching and performance-building that we think will be refreshing for everyone around the pool.

We officially announce Max as the newest member of our NBA Community. As Max has expressed a strong interest in hosting a community Zoom in the near future to meet and speak with the NBA community, we will be in touch with everyone when this is scheduled.


Ken Brakebill

Chair, NBA Head Coach Search Committee

NBA Board of Directors