Mike de Bear helped establish the Dublin Scioto High School boys and girls swimming and diving teams as one of the top programs in the state.

Mike de Bear helped establish the Dublin Scioto High School boys and girls swimming and diving teams as one of the top programs in the state.

After six seasons as coach, de Bear has resigned at Scioto to take over the Upper Arlington boys swim team.

de Bear, 31, calls his new position a dream job.

"It's the premier job in the state as far as I'm concerned," de Bear said. "The tradition, the commitment to the program, the facilities. It's all right there, but leaving the kids is brutal."

He replaces Jeff Stewart, who resigned in August to accept a teaching position closer to his family in St. Clairsville.

The UA boys team won Division I state titles in 1985, '86 and '87.

"We did a really thorough search," UA boys athletics director Michael Schaefer said. "We posted the job all across the country. We had applicants everywhere from North Carolina to Texas to California. We had people from Ohio. We think we have a great candidate."

Under de Bear, the Irish enjoyed success, capped by strong showings at the Division I state championships last season. The girls team finished seventh (112 points) behind champion UA (295) and the boys were 12th (53) behind first-place Cincinnati St. Xavier (228). de Bear's new team, UA, was third (187).

"Looking back at last season, I had no idea that would be the end of this part of my journey," de Bear said. "It's a pretty awesome way to go out."

Kate McNeilis, a four-time state qualifier, was first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.53) and 100 backstroke (54.53). She is swimming at Tennessee.

Jacob Schuster, a three-time state qualifier, finished first in the 200 free (1:38.70) and second in the 100 free (45.82). Schuster is swimming at Ohio State.

Both swimmers join a group of Scioto swimmers who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level under de Bear. Other athletes include 2010 graduates Caitlin Harty (Evansville) and Josh Leary (Eastern Michigan), 2008 graduate Kyle McNeilis (Texas) and 2006 graduates diver Greg DeStephen (Missouri) and Lauren Gentry (Columbia).

"I've been blessed with some unbelievable athletes," de Bear said. "The coach is just one small instrument in the program. It was a really great run."

de Bear, who will remain a social studies teacher at Dublin Coffman, has several fond memories at Scioto. He noted a cherished keepsake is a signed photo from his six seniors who qualified for the state meet last season.

Sophomore Elizabeth Harty, who is expected to be a key swimmer for the Irish this season, credited de Bear for her success.

"I cried because I've been working with him as a coach ever since I was really young," Harty said. "He has helped me develop as a swimmer because he was one of the coaches that taught me how to swim when I first started. We just kept building on me as a swimmer, and I just kept getting better. He encouraged me to get better and he was there to cheer me on and to work me harder. We've been through a lot together. This is hard, but I wish him the best."

Harty, a member of the Northwest Swim Club, will continue to compete for de Bear, as he will remain the club's head coach.

Scioto athletics director Kip Witchey said de Bear will be missed.

"There's two different approaches, there's Kip the AD and Kip the friend," Witchey said. "Kip the AD is disappointed to lose him and it will be a challenge at this point to get somebody to match the quality of Mike, but being his friend it's an excellent opportunity for Mike and he'll do a fantastic job for them. He's done a fantastic job for us. We're definitely going to miss him."

de Bear is a 1997 graduate of Thomas Worthington where he swam and played water polo. He is a 2001 graduate of Syracuse University, where he played water polo, and received his bachelor of arts in broadcast journalism and political science.

"The (Scioto) kids will be fine," de Bear said. "Kids are resilient, programs are resilient. I was just a small part of it. They will always be a big part of the fabric of my life."