Urbanchek, Welsh, Boomer, Morton, Davis Honored By College Swimming Coaches Association of America

Photo Courtesy: Greg Smith - USA Today Sports

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, May 23. THE College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s annual awards banquet is always a star-studded affair, at least in terms of the Who’s Who of college swimming. This year’s event was no exception, with some legendary names in attendance to accept several awards.

Tim Welsh, who just finished a 29-year stint as head men’s coach at Notre Dame, was awarded the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy, which is deemed the top award that the CSCAA hands out. Wally Morton, who also wrapped up his collegiate career after 40 years at Cleveland State, received the Richard E. Steadman Award.

Another equally prestigious award is the Speedo Lifetime Achievement Award, given this year to the unflappable Jon Urbanchek. After decades on deck at the University of Michigan, Urbanchek tried retirement a few years ago but returned to coach postgrads at FAST in Fullerton and now works at the University of Southern California.

Bill Boomer, one of the great modern innovators of stroke technique, received the Benjamin Franklin Award. John Davis, the founder and president of nonprofit 2Xtreme Foundation, won the Charles McCaffree Award.

Below are brief biographies of the award winners as posted on the CSCAA website.

THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE and SCHOLASTIC SWIMMING TROPHY
The National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy is the highest award of its kind in the United States. It is presented to an individual or organization for having contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and as a healthful recreational activity at schools and colleges. The 2014 Recipient of the Collegiate Trophy is Tim Welsh, the retiring head coach of men’s swimming at the University of Notre Dame.

Since arriving at Notre Dame in 1985, Welsh has seen his teams post a 319-174 (.647) dual-meet record, while winning 22 league titles (Midwestern Collegiate – 15, BIG EAST – 6, North Star – 1) and taking second place on seven occasions (MCC – 2, BIG EAST – 5). His student-athletes’ accomplishments include, 23 individuals invited to the NCAA Championships, gaining All-America honors on 12 occasions and winning over 45 BIG EAST events. Prior to Notre Dame in 1985, Welsh spent eight years as the head men’s and women’s coach at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md. The New York native led the men’s squad to a mark of 65-36, including two NCAA Division III national championships.

Welsh graduated magna cum laude from Providence College in 1966. He went on to earn his master’s degree at the University of Virginia in 1967. Welsh became the men’s assistant coach at Syracuse in 1974 after leaving Winthrop College (S.C.), where he had taught English.

Welsh received the Richard E. Steadman Award from the CSCAA in 1993. The award, given annually to a swimming or diving coach in the high school, club or university ranks who has done the most to spread joy and happiness in swimming. Welsh served as president of the American Swimming Coaches Association and is a past board member of the CSCAA.

Notre Dame proudly bestowed its Presidential Achievement Award to Welsh in 2009, which recognizes a University employee who lives the University’s mission and is a role model exemplifying all of the school’s core values.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARD
Awarded to the individual, or organization, whose efforts best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal. The inaugural winner of this award in 2008 was Dr. Myles Brand. The 2014 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award is Bill Boomer.

Professor William Boomer was a career educator and swimming coach at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. While at Rochester, his involvement in various aspects of swimming research lead to his inquisitive and questioning approach to our relationship with the aquatic environment. Bill’s principle-driven teachings are widely credited for a shift in the direction of aquatic perception worldwide.

Bill traveled nationally and internationally, teaching stroke theory and technique. He worked with swimmers representing the USA internationally, preparing them for the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Olympics. Bill was the Technical Coach for the USA Men’s and Women’s Olympic Swim Teams in 2000 at Sydney. This position was created as a result of his unique talents and insights. He helped numerous athletes to world records and many Olympic medals. Bill produced a series of five swimming videos (The Boomer Chronicles) for USA Swimming.

In January of 2012, Bill’s work was honored at the inaugural World Aquatic Development Conference, at Lund University, Lund, Sweden. He is presently a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

SPEEDO CSCAA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Awarded to the individual whose efforts best exemplify the integrity and ideals of collegiate swimming and who has achieved significant success in the sport while still imparting the educational and character building qualities of the collegiate swimming experience. The 2014 recipient of the CSCAA Speedo Lifetime Achievement Award is retired University of Michigan Men’s Swim Coach Jon Urbanchek.

Retired may be the wrong word for the Hall of Fame coach who continues to coach around the country, currently serving as the volunteer assistant at the University of Southern California. The 1995 CSCAA NCAA Division I Coach of the Year has served as a five-time assistant US Olympic Coach, was the head coach for the US World Championship team twice and led Michigan to 13 Big Ten Titles and the NCAA Team Title in 1995.

In a 2012 article for the Orange County Register, Scott Reid wrote, “Urbanchek has long been considered one of swimming’s most innovative coaches. But it’s his enthusiasm and passion – and his ability to inspire and connect with talented athletes – that has kept him at the forefront of his sport for parts of six decades. It’s also why he’s one of his sport’s most beloved personalities – a small man with a big heart.”

Jon Urbanchek has developed some of the top swimmers in the world. Through more than five decades of coaching he has produced over 40 Olympians who have won more than 20 Olympic Medals, including 11 Gold. However, Coach Urbanchek’s legacy will be more than just winning championships and producing Olympians, as Dave Salo said in that same OC Register article “Everybody loves Jon, kids just react to him. They respond.”

THE RICHARD E. STEADMAN AWARD
The Richard E. Steadman award is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in high school, club, or university ranks who, in the opinion of the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving. The 2014 Recipient of the Richard E. Steadman Award is Wally Morton of Cleveland State University.

In over 40 years of coaching Wally Morton has accumulated 20 conference championship titles, 9-conference coach of the year awards, 385 dual meet wins and 46 winning seasons. Five of his swimmers have qualified for the NCAA Championship and 3 competed at the Olympics.

Wally Morton takes nothing for granted, he is thankful for his opportunity to coach at Cleveland State and spent a career as a servant to his athletes and the university. Wally has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Cleveland State and not just for the swimming and diving program.

The Robert F. Busbey Charitable Foundation he established gives directly to Cleveland State, including tens of thousands of dollars annually to the CSU Radiance scholarship program that assists over 100 CSU undergraduates who are at risk for dropping out of school because of finances. These scholarships enable students to stay in school and make progress towards their degrees uninterrupted. This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has raised for Viking Swimming and Diving scholarships, operations budget and facility upgrades.

Wally has truly paid it forward and as Ohio State Women’s Coach and CSU alumni Bill Dorenkott stated “The true hallmarks of a leader are if they left things better than they found them and will they be missed. Simply put, Wally has made a difference in countless individuals lives. I will always be grateful for having Wally in my life.”

CHARLES McCAFFREE AWARD
The Charles McCaffree Award is presented annually to an individual linked to collegiate aquatic sport that has achieved outstanding success in life and has contributed greatly to society. The 2014 Charles McCaffree Award recipient is John Davis of the 2Xtreme Foundation.

Davis is a 1991 graduate of the University of North Carolina where he was twice named ACC Swimmer-of-the-Year and holds the ACC record for career individual men’s championships with 11. He was the 1988 and 1990 ACC Swimmer-of-the-Year and team captain his senior year.

Davis has a Clinical Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, is a certified Addictions Counselor and works with teen boys and young men who are struggling with mixed messages and conflicting information from their peers, schools, and our society. John takes a comprehensive approach to therapy – treating his clients, and then working with their families to create a healthier home dynamic. John’s approach to therapy is connection-based – he works first to build a relationship with each young man, then to guide each one to better decisions and choices, based on what he understands about that individual. His unique approach means that each client has a relationship with John based on where that client is at that time – there are no set solutions, no textbook-based answers. To date has worked with more than 7,000 families and boasts a 90 percent success rate.

Davis is the founder and president of the 2Xtreme Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that serves families and youth. The 2xtreme Foundation raises money to fund a support group for mothers, reduced or free counseling services, mentoring, tutoring & the signature program the 2xtreme Dream. A reward based therapeutic program (9 months long) that incorporates sobriety, good academic performance, no negative police contact, community service work, connecting at home with family relationships, team building activities including rock and ice climbing. When completed the youths travel internationally to climb some of the world’s tallest mountains and then complete their community service in the area in which they climbed. To date John has taken three teams of youths to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in Africa, Peru to climb Mt. Pisco & Mt. Chopiccalqui, & Russia’s Mt. Elbrus the tallest mountain in Europe. John is the author of Extreme Pursuit: Winning the Race for the Heart of Your Son.

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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