According to a Facebook post by Lisa Eckelkamp, her husband, Steve Eckelkamp, passed away unexpectedly and suddenly on June 10 at their home in Mount Juliet, TN.
Eckelkamp had a thirty-year coaching career including his role as head coach at Florida Atlantic University from 1989-2014. In his time with the Owls, Eckelkamp’s swimmers made great strides toward NCAA success.
A Division II powerhouse, the teams moved to Division I in the late 90s, where the men’s team became the first FAU male team to make a Division I post-season Championship. At the NCAAs in 1996, FAU earned their first National Title in the 200 free.
Eckelkamp then continued to develop success in the pool with numerous All-Americans and earned Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Honors when the team was a conference member from 2005-2013.
He served as a USA Swimming National Team Coach periodically since 1991 and coached many Olympians at FAU including 1996 Olympian Lara Preacco of Switzerland. His most recent trip with the National Team was the 2006 Short Course World Championships in Shanghai, China.
While Eckelkamp’s success was evident in the pool, he found similar thrill in rougher water as well. “Steve was at one with the water,” Lisa Eckelkamp said. “If there was an ocean, a lake, a river or a pool, he was home.”
Known for taking on great challenges with pride, Eckelkamp kayaked the Amazon and has also set a world speed record for canoeing the length of the Mississippi River in 1980.
A mentor to many, Eckelkamp affected the lives of hundreds of athletes. Former swimmers have made comments about Eckelkamp with the following themes: He was a selfless man who created opportunities for his swimmers by believing in and supporting them.
Lisa Eckelkamp expressed her gratitude for the condolences given by these swimmers over the last few days.
FAUSports.com contributed to this report.