A for Athlete

In 2008, celebrated its 48th annual awards program, banquet and convention at the end of May.

  • Dr. Myles Brand, NCAA President
    • attended the CSCA meeting in 2008.

But on this night it was all about celebrating, right down to the festive music offered by the neighboring mariachi band and wedding reception. Following the traditional invocation and memorial resolution offered by the imitable

  • Frank Comfort, swimming coach with 40 years of service to the profession in 2008.

The Speedo coach and athlete awards were then presented. In attendance were

  • Dorsey Tierney for Men's Division I Swimmer of the Year Cesar Cielo, Men's and Women's Division I Coach of the Year Frank Busch, Division II Men's Coach of the Year Doug Grooms, Jeff Hegle on behalf of Nate Jimerson, Division II men's diver and Nate Brisley Division II diving coach of the year and finally George Kennedy himself for Division III men's Coach of the Year.

Brand (right) was then called back to the stage. The NCAA president was presented with a new association award- the Daktronics' Benjamin Franklin Award. Daktronics' Ginny Herried presented the honor which is awarded, "to the individual, or organization, whose efforts best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal.

The Richard E. Steadman Award had two recipients – Purdue’s Kathy Wright-Eger and Michigan’s Jim Richardson. The Steadman award is conferred annually to a coach who, in the opinion of the ISHOF, CSCAA Forum and CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in swimming and diving. In twenty-one seasons Wright-Eger coached five Big Ten Champions and several more onto All-American and international honors. Wright-Eger has also served on four U.S. National team assignments and led her team to a 3.5 grade-point average.

Richardson, who was unable to attend due to sickness, competed his 24th year at Michigan. Under his tenure, the Wolverines won twelve-consecutive (and fourteen total) Big Ten titles and enjoyed fifteen top-ten and two top-four finishes.

Jean Freeman introduced both award winners. The former Minnesota women’s coach began with an account from a past women’s coaches’ forum, Freeman explained how Wright-Eger’s competitiveness showed through when the bantam Boilermaker unseated former Texas women’s coach Jill Sterkel in the final round of musical chairs. Freeman also spoke on behalf of Richardson. She discussed an honorable rivalry enjoyed by the two “U of M” coaches over the years, a rivalry highlighted by Richardson’s giving his Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year award to Freeman and her staff after a particularly hard-fought championship.

Auburn’s Dorsey Tierney (left) concluded the evening by awarding the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy to former assistant Greg Earhart, of Carthage College and CollegeSwimming.com. Earhart is the youngest recipient to have ever received the honor.