Holly Vargo-Brown
Holly  Vargo-Brown

Head Coach

Ohio State, 1984


Scarlet & Gray Beyond My Playing Days

This summer we are highlighting former Buckeye student-athletes who have returned to work in the athletics department

Holly Vargo-Brown is in her 16th year overall with the Ohio State synchronized swimming team. During a career that includes two separate coaching stints, Vargo-Brown has been a part of 12 national titles as a member of the coaching staff. She assisted the Buckeyes from 1986-90 before taking a two-year hiatus and rejoined the team in 1993.

In her first season as the head coach of the Ohio State synchronized swimming team, Holly Vargo-Brown guided the Buckeyes to six first-place finishes, including their 23rd-consecutive North Regional Championship, as well as a second-place finish at the U.S. Collegiate Championships in Palo Alto, Calif.Behind three silver medals, the Scarlet and Gray claimed fourth place at the U.S. Senior National Championships in Greensboro, N.C.

Under Vargo-Brown's guidance, Buckeye Paige Ramsey was tabbed USA Synchro Collegiate Athlete of the Year, and six swimmers - Chelsea Aton, Lauren Nicholson, Yuliya Maryanko, Paige Ramsey, Katie Spada and Khadija Zanotto - earned U.S. Collegiate All-America laurels. Heidi Liou and Aton collected U.S. Collegiate Academic Team honors and were recognized as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars. Additionally, 11 Buckeyes were named Ohio State Scholar-Athletes, while Julia Gaylard, Samantha Golomb, Tori Hawes, Kristine Irwin, Paige Wells, Maryanko, Nicholson, Spada, Liou, Aton and Zanotto were Academic All-Big Ten selections.

In 2005, Vargo-Brown continued her duties as the Buckeye interim head coach, after taking on the designation in 2004. While head coach Linda Lichter-Witter was on medical leave last season, Vargo-Brown led Ohio State to a second-place finish at the Collegiate National Championships and coached three All-Americans and two Honorary All-Americans.

Vargo-Brown earned her first USSSI collegiate coach of the year honors in 2004, after leading the Buckeyes to their fifth-consecutive national title. Vargo-Brown took over the head coaching duties for Lichter-Witter, who served as the assistant coach for the United States National Team that competed in the 2004 Athens, Greece, Olympic Games.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Vargo-Brown was a four-year letterwinner for Ohio State from 1981-84. She was a member of the Buckeyes' 1982 and 1983 collegiate national championship teams and earned Collegiate All-America and USSSI All-America honors following her senior season in 1984. Vargo-Brown also was a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a recipient of the Melvin and Irving Schottenstein Post-Graduate Award. Following her collegiate career, she earned a spot on the U.S. National Team II in 1985.

In her first four-season stay at Ohio State, Vargo-Brown helped the Buckeyes continue their national dominance with four collegiate national titles. During that span, she also coached at two U.S. Olympic Festivals in 1987 and 1989 and served as an assistant coach to the Venezuelan team at the Pan-American Games in 1987.

After her tour with the national squad, Vargo-Brown returned to the Ohio State synchronized swimming program in 1986 to serve as an assistant coach. She received her B.S. in physical education from Ohio State in 1984.

Vargo-Brown and her husband Breck, also an Ohio State graduate, are the proud parents of three daughters: Taylor, Jordan, and Grayson and a son, Chase Adam.