Dave Durden was named ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) “Coach of the Year” last night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Durden, the head men’s coach at Cal-Berkeley, has four times been named NCAA Coach of the Year and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic coaching staff this summer.
Durden helped place Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Josh Prenot and Tom Shields on the Olympic team and played a role in Anthony Ervin getting on his third Olympic team. Those six athletes combined to win six individual medals in Rio—three of them gold—and Adrian, Murphy and Shields all won relay gold medals as well.
Durden began coaching at Cal in 2007, and he credited his predecessor, Nort Thornton, for introducing him to the level of excellence that would be expected in that role.
“It was Nort as well as Mike Bottom that had that Olympic expectation. I remember walking into Nort’s office and seeing the Olympic flag on the wall,” Durden said. “There were expectations set before me that I had to uphold.”
Other finalists for the award included Bob Bowman—a five-time winner of the award—as well as Bruce Gemmell, Ray Looze, David Marsh and Greg Meehan.
Four coaches were inducted into the ASCA Hall of Fame: L.A. “Buddy” Baarcke, George Breen, Bob Steele and Ray Woods.
The Sarasota YMCA’s Sherwood Watts was recognized as the Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the Year as presented by Fitter and Faster Tour CEO David Arluck and Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary.
Other finalists for the award included Chris Davis Jr. (SwimAtlanta), Carle Fierro (Westchester Aquatic Club), Nicole Harmon (The Fish), Megan Hurless(Ohio State Swim Club), Florian Rudolph (Nitro Swimming), David Schreck(NOVA of Virginia), Brent St. Pierre (Raleigh Swim Association), Doug Wharam (Nashville Aquatic Club) and Patrick Wickering (Club Wolverine).
Before being honored for his induction into the ASCA Hall of Fame, Steele presented the Doc Counsilman Creative Coaching Award for innovations in coaching—such as those presented in his book, Games, Gimmicks, Challenges.
Tom Meade won the award for his version of Streamlined Kicking. Heather Purk was second for “Fun with Pull Buoys.” Sue Burch (“Turn n Burn Flips”) and Gilberto Silva (“Vegas”) were also recognized.