One of the longest tenured coaches in the country, Nancy Bigelow is in her 43rd year as a college swimming coach, including the past 36 seasons at Tufts University.
Bigelow stepped down as head coach of the Jumbo women's swimming program in 2015 and now serves as the associate head coach for both the men's and women's programs at Tufts.
In 2013, Bigelow received the College Swimming Coaches Association of America's (CSCAA) Richard E. Steadman Award. One of five major awards that the CSCAA presents, the Richard E. Steadman Award is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in the high school, club, or university ranks who, in the opinion of the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving. Coach Bigelow was also presented the Massachusetts State Lottery and Boston College Athletics "Heights Award" in January 2008. The award recognizes the Massachusetts residents who have made significant contributions to women's athletics.
As head coach of the Jumbos in 2009 and 2012, Bigelow was selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year. Both of those Tufts teams posted strong third-place finishes at the competitive conference meet. The 2012-13 Jumbo team's victory over Wheaton College at home on January 26 was the 200th of Coach Bigelow's tenure at Tufts. Her teams posted an outstanding .692 winning percentage during her 33 seasons as head coach (1982-2015). During her time at Tufts, Bigelow coached 44 All-Americans and 18 New England or NESCAC champions. Her teams earned CSCAA All-Academic Team accolades every season from 1993-2015, while dozens of team members received CSCAA Academic All-America recognition.
Before the NESCAC Championship replaced the New England Championship on Tufts' schedule in 2000, the Jumbos also captured three New England team titles under Coach Bigleow. A three-time New England Coach of the Year winner, she was named a Master and Distinguished Coach by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America in 2006.
Bigelow was formerly on the NCAA Swimming & Diving Rules Committee, including serving as its chair for the 2010-11 season. She is a certified college swimming official and is also a member of the College Swimming Coaches Association.
Prior to her arrival at Tufts, Bigelow coached at Wellesley College from 1975-80 where she oversaw the women's volleyball and women's fencing teams as well. A 1975 graduate of Penn State, she returned to her alma mater to serve as an assistant women's swim coach from 1980-82.