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Passages: Richard Quick, 66, Passes Away Due to Brain Cancer - Updated -- June 11, 2009

Updated June 11 with USA Swimming statement.

AUSTIN, Texas, June 10. RICHARD Quick, Auburn's head men's and women's coach, has succumbed to brain cancer this evening.

Quick, 66, was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in December and has undergone treatment ever since the discovery. Quick finished his career as one of the most recognizable coaches in the swimming community with 13 NCAA team titles to his record – the most ever by a head coach.


Quick, who served as Auburn's head coach from 1978-82, took over the Tiger program for a second time in 2007. He was in his second season and sixth overall at Auburn this past year, one in which the men's team captured the NCAA team title.

While the head coach of both the men's and women's programs at Auburn from 1978-82, Quick built the foundation for where the program is today, leading both programs to a combined four top-10 finishes on the national level.

Quick captured seven NCAA titles at Stanford, five at Texas and one at Auburn. Internationally, Quick was the head coach of the United States team at the 1988, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games and also served as an assistant at the 1984, `92, and 2004 Olympics.

Quick served as the head women's swimming and diving coach at Stanford for 17 seasons from 1988-2005. Prior to his arrival at Stanford, Quick led the Texas women to a then-unprecedented five straight NCAA titles (1984-88), a string he extended to six in a row in his first season at Stanford.

Quick also served as the men's head coach at Iowa State during the 1977-78 season and the women's head coach at Southern Methodist in 1976-77.

Quick earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education (1965) and a Master's degree in Physiology of Exercise (1977) from Southern Methodist.

He began his coaching career at Houston's Memorial High School (1965-71), guiding his team to six state championships before returning to SMU, where he served as an assistant coach on the men's side for four years (1971-75) before starting the SMU women's program in 1976.

Auburn has since released the following notice of Quick's passing:

Auburn men's and women's head swimming and diving coach Richard Quick, who was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor in December 2008, passed away Wednesday at the age of 66. One of the most recognizable names in the swimming and diving community, Quick was a six-time United States Olympic coach who directed 13 teams to NCAA titles, the most ever by a swimming coach.

Quick, who served as Auburn's head coach from 1978-82, took over the Tiger program for a second time in 2007. This past season, his sixth at Auburn, Quick's men's team captured the 2009 NCAA title.

"We are tremendously saddened by the passing of Richard Quick, who is one of the finest individuals that I've ever known," Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said. "While he lost a valiant battle against a cruel disease, Richard was an inspiration to countless people who were touched by his steadfast faith and amazing courage in the face of tremendous adversity.

"Richard will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of swimming, but more importantly, he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and teacher," Jacobs said. "Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to the Quick family, his wife, June; children, Michael, Kathy, Tiffany and Benjamin; grandchildren, Blake and Emily; as well as our swimming and diving team and coaching staff."

While the head coach of both the men's and women's programs at Auburn from 1978-82, Quick built the foundation for where the program is today, leading both programs to a combined five top-10 finishes on the national level.

Along with his men's title in 2009, Quick captured seven NCAA titles at Stanford and five at Texas. Six times he was named the NCAA Coach of the Year, including this past season. Internationally, Quick was the head coach of the United States team at the 1988, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games and also served as an assistant at the 1984, `92, and 2004 Olympics.

"Richard's passing leaves a tremendous void, not only in the swimming community and the Auburn family, but to those individuals who he touched the most," Co-Head Coach Brett Hawke said. "It would be in Richard's greatest honor to not dwell on his loss, but to celebrate his life and the characteristics he embodied, which were his perseverance, compassion and his humanity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard's family during this extremely difficult time."

A member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Quick served as the head women's swimming and diving coach at Stanford for 17 seasons from 1988-2005. Prior to his arrival at Stanford, Quick led the Texas women to a then-unprecedented five straight NCAA titles (1984-88), a string he extended to six in a row in his first season at Stanford.

Quick also served as the men's head coach at Iowa State during the 1977-78 season and the women's head coach at Southern Methodist in 1976-77.

Quick earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education (1965) and a Master's degree in Physiology of Exercise (1977) from Southern Methodist.

He began his coaching career at Houston's Memorial High School (1965-71), guiding his team to six state championships before returning to SMU, where he served as an assistant coach on the men's side for four years (1971-75) before starting the SMU women's program in 1976.

Quick is survived by his wife June, and children, Michael, Kathy, Tiffany and Benjamin, and grandchildren, Blake and Emily.

Memorial service plans will be announced when they become available.

Statement from USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus:

From all of us at USA Swimming who knew and loved Richard Quick, we send our deepest sympathies for the loss of our friend. We will always have the greatest admiration for an icon in the sport of swimming. Our love and respect for Richard is shared by coaches, athletes, volunteers, officials and staff. Richard experienced extraordinary success as a coach, and was one of the world's all-time great Olympic coaches. But we also knew and loved Richard as a person and a dear friend. The legacy of Richard Quick will endure with all of us at USA Swimming, and we send our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family.

Special thanks to Auburn for contributing to this report. Swimming World sends its condolences to the friends and family of Coach Quick as they mourn his passing.


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Reaction Time Comments
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June 10, 2009 A true loss!
Submitted by: beactive
June 10, 2009 :-(

Rest in peace, RQ.
Heaven has a great swim coach now.
Prayers to his family.
Submitted by: Hodori88
June 10, 2009 Most sincere condolences to all friends and family on the passing of a true shaper of United States swimming.
Submitted by: fever
June 10, 2009 As I said to Rowdy Gaines, my heart is heavy, but there's a great War Eagle in the sky watching over.

Leave it to Richard to get us all to stop talking about high-tech swimsuits for a few moments. God bless.
Submitted by: swimmer bill
June 10, 2009 Great coach. Greater man. God speed, Richard Quick.
Submitted by: skimalaya
June 11, 2009 Coach Quick and his wife June came to see my band "The Heroes" play often, and Richard became a fan and good, dear friend to me personally. I will miss him tremendously, especially his kind heart, big smile, and his friendly, easy going nature. He was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word. His loss is so painful, but I am sure Almighty God has granted him eternal life and will care for my friend Richard in his kingdom forever. May God Bless June and his family during this difficult time.
Submitted by: dougalmac
June 11, 2009 RIP Coach Quick. I coach a summer club team in Golden Colorado. Richard Quick was in town on other business. I heard he was in town and had a message delivered to him that I was a big fan of his and coached a swim team. I let him know that we had a chance of winning League and maybe State for the first time in our team's history. Maybe he could come talk to our team prior to the championship meets. I could only hope this message would reach him, much less that he would respond. It was a long shot for sure. I went to hear him speak on Friday night before the League Championships. If the message didn't reach him, I'd be there to try and bend his ear. His speech went on until late and I had to get up early the next, so I had to leave. I went to bed that night thinking, "Well, at least it was worth a try." When I woke up the following morning there were 3 messages on my cell phone. All 3 calls were from his phone. One message went something like, "Brian, this is Richard Quick. I got your message about your League meet this weekend. I would love to come and talk to your team. I'm staying at the Denver Marriot and will be in the lobby at 6am. I understand your warm-up is at 6:30 so that should give us enough time. Please call me in the morning to confirm." I couldn't believe he actually called me. So there I am driving Richard Quick in my Volkswagen Golf talking to him about the Marlins and what it is like coaching at his level. The inspirational speech he gave to these kids was talked about my members of the team for months after. I am sure Richard Quick did these kind of completely self-less acts all the time and nobody knows about them. He's just that kind of person.
Submitted by: brianingolden
June 11, 2009 Re: Brianingolden's comments

Yes, he IS that kind of person, and the world would be a much better place if all of us could model our lives a little after his.

Richard leaves a great legacy, not primarily of how to build winners and win championships, but of how to live.

Thank you, Richard.
Submitted by: lion_king
June 11, 2009 Richard was one of the genuine good guys (I knew him during his tenure at Stanford -- 1988-2005). He was quite approachable and friendly. What was neat about him was that he didn't restrict himself to his varsity team members; no, he always had time to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport with others whether they be recreation and lap swimmers, masters swimmers, or beginning phys ed swimmers.

It was not uncommon at all to see him pull someone aside, and say, "Give this a try. How does that feel? Give it a shot. That'll help you improve!" And then he'd tell that person a story or two. People like that are rare. The swimming community benefited from his passion.
Submitted by: SilverMedalMel
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Richard Quick appointed new Auburn swim Coach
Photo By: Peter H. Bick

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