Aug. 31, 2005
What about Ohio State made you most attracted to the university when you decided to come here?
Ohio State has a tremendous swimming / diving history that dates back to the 1930’s with coach Mike Peppe. The program has a terrific level of support from alumni and friends in the community and has made an impact on the lives of so many thru the years and I was and am so excited about continuing to carry on the tradition and build on something so special.
What one person had the biggest impact on the coaching style that you have today?
I have learned and continue to glean information from the many wonderful leaders whom I have had friendships with over the years. As a young coach I was an assistant to Don Gambril at Alabama who was a four time USA Olympic coach and he was a great mentor to me and many others. He was a leader of young men and a great motivator as well as an excellent teacher. Also, my high school swimming coach Dennis Carlson played a big role in my life and it’s because of his love for the sport that I have such a passion still today. He taught us to enjoy the moment and get the most from each day.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
We would like to take the program back into the NCAA elite and this year a top 20 finish at the NCAA’s would be a nice start.
What is your favorite thing about the city of Columbus?
My favorite thing about Columbus is the people. I have developed so many friends over the years. Most people in Columbus are very friendly and supportive of the Buckeye athletic programs, which is very special.
What is the biggest difference you have found in Olympic athletes and college athletes?
I hope that there are not too many differences but most of the Olympic athletes I have coached have had a singular purpose or focus. They have put their social lives on the back burner and are driven to do what it takes to succeed now.
What is your favorite sport to watch?
Well of course it’s swimming during the Olympic Games but who doesn’t love to be in the Ohio Stadium on game day, what an experience that is. My favorite week as coach of the Buckeyes was beating Michigan and Indiana in dual meets for the first time in 30 years on back to back weekends.
What do you think about the McCorkle Aquatic Center and how will it affect the program?
For about ten years I have been involved with the dreams, plans and fundraising for the new aquatic center that will now be called the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion and I believe everyone who has the opportunity to swim / dive in the facility will think of it as one of the best in the World. The facility has 5 pools with the competition pool and the diving well being the most prominent and should be host to most of the Major USA meets in the future. With the ability to host meets of this calibur for the best swimmers and divers in America we believe we will begin to recruit and attract swimmers that are already at the national level and will help us continue our climb to the top of the NCAA and Big 10 ladder.
What is your favorite non-athletic related memory you have of the Olympics?
I enjoy so many things about the Olympic Games but the pageantry and nationalism are very moving and it just doesn’t seem to matter where you come from because all the athletes feel the same sense of pride when representing their country. I think being in the Olympic village eating with the athletes in Seoul in 1988 or Sidney in 2000 were very special moments just watching all the athletes mingle over a meal in the commons is an amazing site. So many languages but they all seem to find a way to communicate and they seem so happy to be there in that moment with others enjoying a meal.
As a coach would you rather have an athlete be an NCAA champion or an Olympian?
To become an Olympic champion would be the highest level any athlete can attain in sport and it can change their lives forever in so many ways so I would have to go with that. Although being an NCAA champion is a remarkable achievement and would also be a lifelong dream of many athletes.
When you first became the head coach here, did you envision yourself still being here in 2005?
I’m not sure anyone really thinks that far ahead but I sure didn’t envision myself any where else. It is indeed an honor and pleasure to represent a university and program such as Ohio State and I am really looking forward to the future in the new McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.