BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, May 12. THE longtime czar of Minnesota Golden Gopher swimming is now a Hoosier as Indiana Athletics will announce today that Dennis Dale has been hired as the Associate Head Coach for the men's and women's team.
Courtesy of: Minnesota Athletics
Courtesy of: Minnesota Athletics
With Dale no longer being welcome at Minnesota Swimming after three decades of service, an old arch enemy came knocking as Indiana head coach Ray Looze put aside a decade of intense competition with Dale to welcome him to the Hoosier family as a vital member of the staff.
Dale has had an illustrious career, having served at the helm of Minnesota's program in some capacity for nearly 30 years. The 1967 graduate of Minnesota, Dale finished his career there with seven Big Ten titles, and a run of nearly 30 years putting Minnesota in the top four at Big Tens every single year. He also led his Golden Gopher squads to five straight top 10 NCAA finishes from 2000-04.
Dale's seven Big Ten titles puts him fifth all time in the historic conference's charts behind only James "Doc" Counsilman of Indiana (23), Michigan's Matt Mann (16) and Jon Urbanchek (13) and Ohio State's Mike Peppe (12).
The six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year Dale wound up being transitioned out of Minnesota with Kelly Kremer taking full and complete control after a few years working together with Dale before taking over as the top coach of Minnesota's merged program in 2010-11.
Shortly after Swimming World broke the news, Indiana released the following statement on the hire:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University head swimming coach Ray Looze announced today that Dennis Dale has been named Associate Head Coach for Men and Women in the Hoosier program.
Dale officially begins his duties with the program on July 1.
"Dennis Dale brings a wealth of swimming knowledge to our staff," Looze said. "Not only is he one of the NCAA all-time great coaches but is a first-class individual who puts his swimmers needs above all else.? There are very few people involved in swimming who possess are greater passion for the sport."
"I am excited and thrilled to join Coach Looze and his staff, as well as the Indiana family," Dale said.?
Dale's name is legendary in swimming circles as he spent the last 29 years as the head men's swimming coach at the University of Minnesota. During his tenure the Golden Gophers the program won seven Big Ten titles, including back-to-back crowns in 2004-05, while Dale was named Big Ten Coach of the Year on six occasions.
The Minnesota men have finished no lower than fourth at the Big Ten Championships each of the last 26 seasons, including a fourth-place finish in 2014, as well as 12 runner-up finishes during that span. The Golden Gophers had five-straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships from 2000-04 and more than 100 different All-Americans in the last 20 years.
Working with the sprint group at Minnesota, Dale saw the Golden Gophers' Derek Toomey win the Big Ten crown in the 50 freestyle (19.14), and match the then-Big Ten record in the 50 free with a time of 19.05 in prelims. Toomey went on to finish third in the 50 free at the NCAA Championships.
Toomey became the first Big Ten swimmer to break the 19-second barrier in the 50 free while at the NCAA Championships, posting a swim of 18.95 as the leadoff leg of the 200 free relay in prelims.
"Coach Dale will join Kyle Hastings in working with our sprint group as we continue to invest in this area of our program," Looze said. "It is my belief that by assigning two full-time staff members to sprinting we will take the necessary steps needed to move Indiana back into contention for the Big Ten title and into the NCAA top-five national rankings as we ultimately pursue an NCAA championship."?
The first of Dale's six Big Ten titles came in 1996, breaking a 70-year Big Ten title dry spell for the Golden Gophers and a 10-year hold on the title by Michigan. Minnesota finished second in 1997 by just 17 points before winning another crown in 1998.
It's third title came in 2001, a dominating 248-point win over second-place Michigan. Minnesota made it back-to-back titles with the 2002 crown, and was again champion in 2004 and 2005, squeaking out a three-point win over the Hoosiers in 2005. Its last title in 2007 was also a hotly contested battle as the Golden Gophers beat Michigan by a four-point margin.
Under Dale's direction Minnesota won 48 individual Big Ten titles, including nine in the 50 freestyle, and 38 relay crowns.
A proponent of academics, Dale's teams have produced 181 Academic All-Big Ten honors since 2001, while 31 of his student-athletes have earned Academic All-America honors.
"Coach Dale has an outstanding record of academic success with his teams, which fits extremely well with our core values here at IU," Looze said.
A 1967 graduate of Minnesota, Dale is a member of the "M" Club Hall of Fame and has also been inducted into the Burnsville High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Dale was a member of the 1967 Minnesota team that finished 10th at the NCAA Championships, placing seventh in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 400-medely relay to earn All-America honors.
Before taking over at Minnesota, Dale spent 13 seasons as head boys' coach at Burnsville (Minn.) High School, where his teams won four Minnesota state championships and he was named state Coach of the Year in each of his final four seasons.