IRVING, Texas – July 31 – TCU has announced that its swimming and diving head coach Richard Sybesma has been honored with the third annual Conference USA Student Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) Coaches Choice Award.
The annual award goes to the coach in Conference USA who best exemplifies a commitment to creating a positive academic and athletic atmosphere while fostering the student-athlete’s development and welfare. The SAAC Coaches Choice Award is based on several criteria, including: 1) interaction and participation with athletic and campus community, 2) commitment to academics, 3) athletic achievements and improvements, and 4) motivation, innovation and creativity. Each school's SAAC nominates one coach from their institution for this award and all 15 SAAC representatives vote to determine the winner.
Sybesma is entering his 26th season as the head coach of TCU swimming and diving, elevating the club team that he inherited in 1978 into the conference champion that it is today. Last season, he tallied his 300th career victory and led the Horned Frogs to the first ever same school sweep at the Conference USA Championships/Invitational. For his efforts, he was named the 2004 C-USA Coach of the Year.
"Swimming is a sport that doesn't get much recognition," said TCU swimmer Erin Irons. "This not only goes for the sport, but it goes for the coach as well. Richard has taken the TCU swim team to new heights. He has truly made a name for the swim team. If it weren't for Richard's dedication, enthusiasm and hard work the team wouldn't be where they are today. I believe Richard is more than deserving of this award and I am so glad he is finally getting recognized for all his hard work."
Out of the pool, Sybesma continually stresses the importance of academics to his players. Under his direction, the College Coaches Association has named the women's team to the Academic all-American swim team for 24 consecutive semesters.
Sybesma also shows strong support for all of TCU Athletics. He is a regular attendee at other Horned Frog sporting events and is a participant on the membership team of the Frog Club, an organization dedicated to raising money for athletics scholarships.
This is the third year that the SAAC Coaches Choice Award has been awarded. Last season, USF head baseball coach Eddie Cardieri won the award. In 2002, outgoing East Carolina baseball coach Keith LeClair, who continues to courageously battle ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), was honored as the first-ever recipient of the award.