Coach Jon Urbanchek to Retire -- January 23, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich., January 22. UNIVERSITY of Michigan men's swimming and diving head coach Jon Urbanchek, who has guided the Wolverines to 13 Big Ten Conference team titles and one NCAA crown in his 22 seasons, has announced that he will retire following the 2003-04 season. He will remain with the team through the entire summer swimming season, which includes preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"Jon Urbanchek embodies Michigan swimming," said director of athletics Bill Martin. "He has a genuine love for not only the sport of swimming, but also for the University of Michigan. He has achieved everything in this sport at every level of competition possible. The Michigan family will miss him dearly."
Urbanchek took over the team in 1982-83 and led the Wolverines to a 16th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Five years later, he returned U-M to a national powerhouse with three consecutive top-five finishes from 1988-90.
In 1995 Urbanchek placed himself in the NCAA record books, coaching the Wolverines to the NCAA National Championship title. It was Michigan's 11th such title and first since 1961, when Urbanchek donned the Maize and Blue cap as a member of U-M's team. Following Michigan's national championship in 1995, Urbanchek was named the NCAA Swimming Coach of the Year and the American Swimming Coaches Association Swimming Coach of the Year.
A distance freestyle specialist who has developed a number of high caliber swimmers, Urbanchek guided his 800-yard freestyle relay to five consecutive NCAA titles from 1993-97, including the 1996 squad that set an American record (6:20.89) that stood until 2001.
Urbanchek's swimmers have consistently brought a Maize and Blue flavor to the Olympic Games, as 28 of his pupils have swum for their respective countries. Eight of his star pupils have combined to bring 15 medals (five gold, six silver and four bronze) back to Ann Arbor, with Tom Dolan (1994-96) leading the way with a pair of gold medals in the 400-meter individual medley (1996, 2000).
At the Big Ten level, there has been no one better. In 21 years at the Big Ten Championships, Urbanchek has coached his team to the team title on 13 occasions, including 10 straight from 1986-95 and the 2003 title in Canham Natatorium last year. During his 10-year span of Big Ten dominance the Wolverines compiled a dual meet record of 48-2 and won 88 individual and relay titles at the league championships. Dating back to the beginning of the 1991-92 campaign Urbanchek has guided his Wolverines to a 52-1 dual meet record in league action.
He was named head coach of the United States' 1994 and 1998 World Championship teams and has been on the last five United States Olympic Games coaching staffs.
Urbanchek and his No. 9-ranked Wolverines return to the water next Saturday (Jan. 31) when they face Northwestern at 2 p.m. CST in Evanston, Ill.. He will coach his final home meet Friday, Feb. 6, at Canham Natatorium against Michigan State.