Passages: Jack Pettinger, 79, Former Wisconsin Swim Coach Passes Away

Photo Courtesy: Twitter @BadgerSwimDive

MADISON, Wis. – Jack Pettinger, the winningest coach in the history of the Wisconsin men’s swimming and diving program, passed away Tuesday at the age of 79.

Pettinger, who coached the Badgers from 1969 to 1993, amassed a dual-meet record of 233-92 (.717) in his 24 seasons on deck and led UW to 15 top-five Big Ten finishes.

From 1973 to 1978, his Badgers finished no worse than third at the Big Ten meet, including four consecutive runner-up showings from 1974-77. In those years, his teams trailed only national powerhouse Indiana, where Pettinger had spent six seasons and won two national titles as an assistant coach under the legendary “Doc” Counsilman before coming to Madison.

Pettinger also won a pair of NCAA championships as a butterfly and distance freestyle swimmer on Michigan’s title-winning teams in 1959 and 1961.

The 1992 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Pettinger mentored 11 individuals who claimed a total of 14 Big Ten championships during his time at Wisconsin. The Badgers saw 30 swimmers and divers combine for 36 All-America performances under his direction.

A memorial service for Pettinger will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Cress Funeral Home in Madison.

The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with University of Wisconsin Swimming and Diving. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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