Jeff Poppell Added as Associate Head Coach at University of Florida

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida swimming and diving team has announced the addition of associate head coach, Jeff Poppell, to the Gator coaching staff. Florida head coach Gregg Troy announced the addition on Wednesday.

Poppell, who enters his 24th season of coaching this fall, most recently served as the head coach at both Gulliver Preparatory School and Gulliver Swim Club over the past four seasons. Prior to his arrival, he was the women’s head coach at the University of Arkansas for six years, and a member of The Bolles School and Bolles School Sharks for 13 seasons.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have Jeff joining our staff this fall,” said Troy. “He brings a wealth of knowledge across the spectrum and he’s excelled at all levels whether it has been as a club coach at Bolles and Gulliver, or as a head coach in the Southeastern Conference at Arkansas. His knowledge of the sport is tremendous and we’re excited to add him to our staff.” Troy added.

“I’ve known Jeff a long time and I have no doubt he’ll be a tremendous fit. He’s a winner, with experience at winning programs, and he came up from grass roots. He’s got a fantastic personality that I know our student-athletes will feed off of. Collectively, he’s the type of coach we were looking for and we’re happy to have him with us.”

A veteran to the sport, Poppell got his foot in the door with The Bolles School Sharks in 1993 under Troy. Though it’s been a few years since the two have worked side-by-side, it’s an opportunity Poppell looks forward to.

“I’m truly honored to have been named the associate head coach at the University of Florida,” Poppell said. “I look forward to returning to the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA swimming and diving landscape.

“I would like to thank Coach Troy, and University of Florida Athletics Director, Jeremy Foley, for giving me the opportunity to join Gator Nation.

“I have the upmost respect and admiration for Coach Troy, his coaching staff, and their exceptional tradition for academic and athletic excellence which has remained persistent at UF for so many years.”

A look at Jeff Poppell’s Coaching Career:

Gulliver Preparatory School and Gulliver Swim Club:
Through four seasons at Gulliver Preparatory School and Gulliver Swim Club, Poppell’s challenge was to build winning programs from the ground level up.
In his first season, he quickly helped launch the program to an elite status after more than doubling its size from 95 swimmers to almost 250. Several swimmers established themselves as top national talents, including Jana Mangimelli, who placed 5th in the 200-Meter IM at the 2013 United States World Championship Trials and US National Championships, clocking a time that ranked her among the Top-25 in the world.

In 2014 and 2015, he led Gulliver Preparatory to consecutive 2A FHSAA High School State Swimming Championship titles in Girls Swimming after winning the school’s first-ever state championship in swimming in 2014.
Most recently, in 2015-2016, Poppell guided Gulliver Swim Club to its first-ever Silver Medal Award, which recognizes the top 100 swimming clubs in the United States. In addition, he tutored four U.S. Olympic Trial qualifiers, three finalists at the U.S. Summer Junior National Championships, and 10 swimmers who were ranked among the top 25 nationally in their respective age groups.

University of Arkansas:
During his time at Arkansas, Poppell coached 16 athletes to the NCAA Championships and helped 10 women earn NCAA All-America honors. The Razorback’s fifth-place team finish at the 2009 SEC Championships was the highest finish in program history.

Yi-Ting Siow, a three-time Olympian, became the first Razorback swimmer to earn back-to-back SEC titles in 2009 and 2010 after claiming a pair of top finishes in the 200-yard breaststroke. Her title in 2009 represented the school’s first SEC title in swimming since 1992. She went on to finish fourth in the 200 breaststroke at the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Championships, representing the highest NCAA Championship finish for a swimmer in Razorback history.

In 2009, he took the roll as Head Women’s Coach for Team USA at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel. In addition, he was also the USA Swimming National Team’s coach from 2005-08.

Internationally, Poppell coached three swimmers at the 2009 FINA World Swimming Championships in Rome, and two in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, Poppell helped 10 swimmers qualify for the U.S. Trials in Omaha, Neb.

The Bolles School and Bolles School Sharks:
Poppell led the Bolles Sharks to a pair of national titles and a fifth-place overall combined finish at the 2006 USA Swimming Spring Championships.

Poppell was recognized as the 2004 NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year for girls swimming after The Bolles School captured the 2003-2004 girl’s national high school title.

In 2005, The Bolles School won its 18th consecutive boys and 14th consecutive girls Florida high school state titles.

From 2002-2006, Poppell coached four swimmers who ranked among the Top-25 in the world while 17 former and current Bolles members were in the pool at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Poppell’s swimmers garnered medals at major international events such as the European Championships, Commonwealth Games, South American Championships, Southeast Asian Games, and the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships.

Under Troy, Poppell joined the staff of Bolles in August of 1993 as an age group coach. Working his way up to associate head coach in 2001, Poppell became the head coach and aquatics director in March of 2002.

Collegiate Swimming Career
As a student-athlete at University of Georgia, Poppell was a four-year letter winner and team captain for the Georgia Bulldogs’ swim team. He qualified for the NCAA Championships twice and was an Honorable Mention All-SEC and academic All-SEC honoree.

He earned one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals while competing for the United States at the 1993 Maccabiah Games in Israel.

To this day, the Bulldog program remembers his contributions to the team with the annual presentation of the Jeff Poppell Award for Leadership.

Personal Life:
Coach Poppell and his wife, Joanna, have two children, Jack and Jenna, who both attend Gulliver Academy.

The Poppell File:
• Associate Head Coach, University of Florida, 2016-Present

• Head Coach, Gulliver Preparatory School and Gulliver Swim Club, 2012-2016

• Head Coach, University of Arkansas Women, 2006-2012

• Head Coach, The Bolles School, 2002-2006

• Assistant Coach, The Bolles School, 1993-2002

The University of Florida contributed this report.