Passages: Rod Harman, Oregon Coaching Legend, 93

Photo Courtesy: Competitor

Swimming coach Rod Harman, whose former pupils include three Olympians and 62 high school All-Americans, died Friday at age 93.

Harman had coached until just last year and was regarded as the oldest active coach in the state. He founded the Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Beaverton, Oregon, where the Harman Swim Center is named in his honor. He was named National High School Swim Coach of the Year twice and in 2012 was inducted to the National High School Hall of Fame. Harman earned the Game Changer Award in 2012 at the Oregon Sports Awards.

Harman began coaching at Southridge High School in 1959. He coached for 38 years at Beaverton High School, followed by a stint at Aloha High. He spent more than three decades teaching social studies and economics at Beaverton High. In addition to swimming, he also coached football, water polo, wrestling, track and cheerleading among other sports. His accolades include eight state championships and 10 runner-up finishes in swimming and two boys water polo state titles.

Among his star pupils was 1960 Olympic gold medalist Carolyn Wood, who posted on Facebook Sunday that, “Coach Rod Harman died yesterday on his way to his daily ‘hike.’ He never lost his passion for kids and coaching.” Beaverton School also shared a remembrance of Harman.

Harman’s sons, Scott and Mark, hope to start a scholarship fund in their father’s name.

“He was the epitome of a role model,” Scott Harman told the Oregonian. “He changed lives in a good way, from helping his students understand compound growth to strengthening athletes. He was a rock star.”

Harman went into cardiac arrest while driving less than a mile from his home. A medical report indicated that as the cause of a car accident.

Harman was born in Iowa in 1927 and learned to swim in the Iowa River. He moved to Hillsboro, Oregon, with his family in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy before the end of the World War II, then again during the Korean War. He attended the University of Oregon, where he swam competitively.

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