AUBURN, Alabama, May 15. ACCORDING to a press release sent out by Auburn's media relations staff confirming earlier reports, Dennis Pursley has been added to the Auburn men's and women's swimming and diving staff as Director of Swimming and Diving Operations. The previously unreported information in the release, however, is that Pursley's son Brian has been named an assistant coach.
The following is text from Auburn's press release:
Dennis Pursley has coached numerous Olympians and world record holders during a career that included 14 years as National Team Director of USA Swimming. He was also selected as one of the "25 Most Influential People" in the history of USA Swimming in 2003.
Brian Pursley has spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Arizona State, helping the Sun Devils to top-25 finishes for both the men and women at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
"Dennis Pursley is one of the most recognized names in the swimming world," said head coach Richard Quick. "He has been the national team director for the Australian Institute of Sport and the national team director for USA Swimming, and has done an extraordinary job in both positions. He has also coached a national championship club team and coached Mary T. Meagher – one of the greatest swimmers in U.S. history. I consider it a huge home run for us that he has decided to join the Auburn swimming and diving tradition as our Director of Swimming and Diving Operations."
Dennis Pursley was appointed as the first National Team Director of USA Swimming in 1989 and was responsible for all aspects of the National Team program. During his 14-year tenure the medal production of the USA team increased dramatically. Team USA finished first in the medal count in both men's and women's competitions in all three Olympiads, culminating with 33 medals (14 gold) in the 2000 Olympics which was described by Sports Illustrated as the greatest team performance of all time. In recognition of his contributions, he was awarded the United States Olympic Committee Chairman's "Coaching Award" in 2000.
Dennis Pursley returned to the deck in 2003 as head coach of the Brophy East Swim Team in Phoenix, Ariz., and later that year he was selected as one of the 15 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming. He was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006.
After receiving a Master of Arts degree as a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society at the University of Alabama in 1973, Dennis Pursley served a one year apprenticeship under coach Don Gambril while coaching the University Aquatic Club. In 1974, Pursley returned to his home town as the Head Coach of the Lakeside Swim Club in Louisville, Ky. With Pursley at the helm, Lakeside progressed from an unranked status with no regional or national qualifiers to a regional championship title and a top 10 national championship finish. In 1979, he was appointed to the coaching staff of the USA Pan American Games team. In this competition one of his swimmers, Mary T. Meagher, surprised the swimming world by establishing her first of several world records.
From Lakeside Swim Club, Dennis Pursley moved on to assume the head coaching responsibilities of the Cincinnati Marlins and led them to their first three national championship titles. Eleven swimmers on his 1980 championship team accounted for 28 world rankings (top 25) in individual events and eight Marlin relays were ranked among the top 25 in the world in that same year. After placing six swimmers on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team who accounted for two world records and four first-place world rankings, Pursley was appointed to the U.S. Olympic Team staff and was awarded 1980 "Coach of the Year" honors by the American Swimming Coaches Association.
In 1981, Dennis Pursley was named the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) where he served as head coach of the combined team for two years and the men's team until August, 1984. Six of the AIS athletes who had trained under Pursley (four men and two women) accounted for half of Australia's medals in the 1984 Olympic Games.
After the 1984 Olympic Games, Dennis Pursley began a three-year term as head coach of the Olympian Swim Club in Edmonton, Alberta, where his team progressed from fifth to first in provincial championship competition.
During the first decade of Dennis Pursley's career, his swimmers accounted for seven world records, 12 American Records and 20 U.S. National Championship titles as well as numerous medals in major international competitions – including the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
Brian Pursley spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Arizona State, where he helped guide both the men's and women's teams to top-25 finishes at the 2007 NCAA Championships. During his time in Arizona, he also served as the Head Masters Coach for the Brophy Swim Club Masters, and was the Maroon Group Head Coach for the Sun Devil Aquatics Gold Medal Club from 2005-06.
"For the last couple of years at Arizona State, Brian has worked with head coach Mike Chasson, who was a former assistant of mine at Stanford," said Quick. "Brian is a superstar in the making, and I believe that he will be a huge asset to Auburn swimming and diving."
Brian Pursley started his coaching career as the Head Age Group Coach for the Brophy East Swim Team in the summer of 2004 before serving as a volunteer assistant at North Carolina State during the 2004-05 season.
Prior to coaching at NC State, he was a two-year swimmer for the Wolfpack, serving as team captain during the 2003-04 season. He received his bachelor's degree from NC State in business management before earning a master's degree in recreation management from Arizona State.
Brian Pursley was a two-year letterwinner for the swim team at the Colorado School of Mines before transferring to NC State. He was the NCAA Division II champion in the 100 breast while at the Colorado School of Mines, and was a two-time Central States Conference champion in that event.