Passages: Charles Arnold, Former James Madison University Swim Coach Dies at 93


Charles “Charlie” Arnold, former head coach of the James Madison University men’s swimming and diving program, died on Monday, Aug. 10, in nearby Penn Laird. He was 93.

The school announced his death on Tuesday.

Arnold joined JMU Athletics in the fall of 1973, becoming the first head coach for the men’s swimming and diving program. He was tasked with the challenge of recruiting, eventually building a championship team.

In 19 seasons, he compiled an overall record of 175-80, including 155-67 against NCAA Division I competition. Under Arnold’s guidance, the Dukes competed at the junior varsity level for only two seasons before transitioning to the Division I level.

In his first season on the big stage (1976-77), he led the Dukes to a record of 11-3 and finished sixth overall at the state meet. Arnold helped JMU claim three consecutive state titles and 11 winning records.

Arnold was also involved in the local Harrisonburg community, providing swim lessons at the “Charlie Arnold Swim School.”

In his final season with the Dukes (1991-92), Arnold was named Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year and guided the program to its first CAA title.

Read the full obituary of Charles Arnold from the Daily News-Record.

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