Swimming and diving championships have become so common at Auburn that it would be easy to take them for granted. Not this year, though.
Watching the Auburn men’s swimming and diving team rally from behind Saturday night in College Station, Texas, to win their eighth national championship was quite a thrill and was one of the most inspiring and memorable moments in Auburn Athletics’ recent history.
Our swimmers and divers dedicated their efforts this year to Head Coach Richard Quick, who as most of you know has been battling inoperable brain cancer since December.
If that wasn’t enough adversity to overcome, this year’s team was not favored to win the championship. That didn’t stop them from roaring back from a deficit on the final day of the NCAA competition, though.
Their valiant efforts for Coach Quick won over the hearts of many there who weren’t Auburn fans but who now know the power of the Auburn spirit.
This National Championship is a great tribute to Coach Quick, who has now won 13 national titles at three different schools. More importantly, Coach Quick has also inspired us with the grace, determination, and rock-solid faith he has shown through the toughest battle he has ever faced.
It is also a tremendous tribute to the toughness of our swimmers and divers and to the leadership of Assistant Coach Brett Hawke. Coach Hawke took over the leadership of our men’s team in December when Coach Quick’s diagnosis was announced.
Under these incredibly adverse circumstances, Coach Hawke pulled the team together and kept them focused on the goal of winning championships for Coach Quick and for Auburn.
After taking over the day-to-day coaching responsibilities, he promptly led the Tigers to their 13th straight SEC Championship in Auburn and then to a national title Saturday.
It is only fitting that Brett was on the deck in Coach Quick’s absence. He was a 17-time All-American swimmer for Auburn and was a member of the Tigers’ first NCAA Championship team in 1997.
I know you join me in congratulating our swimmers and divers, Coach Quick, Coach Hawke, Diving Coach Jeff Shaffer and all those involved.
The swimming and diving program continues to lead the way in accomplishing our top two goals at Auburn Athletics, winning and graduating our student-athletes.
A-Day Draws Near
Spring football practice has begun, and A-Day is drawing near. Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 18, and plan to bring your family to Auburn. It will be a great way to show your support for Coach Gene Chizik, his staff and the 2009 Tigers.
Fans of all ages will be glad to know an old A-Day tradition is being brought back this year. The team and coaches will host an autograph session on Jordan-Hare’s Pat Dye Field following the game.
Another event added this year to enhance the A-Day experience is a Punt Pass & Kick competition for kids at the practice fields behind the Athletics Complex on the morning of A-Day. The Punt, Pass & Kick finals for each age division will be held at halftime of the A-Day Game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Central Time in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Let’s show our support for the team and set a new A-Day attendance record this year.
In closing, let’s remember to keep Coach Quick, his wife, June, and their entire family in our thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of support for Coach Quick reminds us all what makes the Auburn Family so special.
Director of Athletics
With a heavy heart, I bring to you sad news from the Auburn Family in the passing of Coach Richard Quick. Coach Quick died Wednesday, six months after being diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor.
While he lost a valiant battle against a cruel disease, Coach Quick was an inspiration to countless people who were touched by his steadfast faith and amazing courage in the face of tremendous adversity.
Coach Quick will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of swimming. He will be remembered for winning a record 13 National Championships and for being a six-time U.S. Olympics coach.
More importantly, though, he will be remembered as a devoted servant, loving husband, caring father and doting grandfather. He will be remembered as a great coach but even greater man by the countless athletes he coached and inspired throughout his career.
* The above was re-posted on my Nashville blog in an effort to help my Auburn friends, family members and clients better keep up with what is going on at Auburn University. Auburn football reviews and swimming reviews are more than welcome!