ATHENS, Ga. (June 8, 2022) – After over 50 years at the University of Georgia as a student-athlete and coach, Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jack Bauerle announced his retirement Wednesday afternoon.
“It is a bittersweet moment in Georgia Athletics history. Jack has been the foundation of unparalleled success of our men’s and women’s swimming and diving program for a half a century,” J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks said. “While we will miss him on the pool deck, we know that Jack will always be a part of our athletics family, and I look forward to working with him in different capacities as an involved alumnus. We wish him the very best in this next phase of his life.”
Bauerle has served as the head coach of the women’s swimming and diving team since 1979 and the men’s team since 1983, matching former LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux for the longest tenure of any coach in Southeastern Conference history. He already became the longest-tenured in Georgia athletics history with his 35th season in 2013-14, passing legendary men’s tennis coach Dan Magill for the honor.
“I have had the great honor of working with Jack Bauerle since 1999, when I led the UGA Honors Program and so many of Jack’s student-athletes were Honors Students and Foundation Fellows,” University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead said. “Jack is an iconic figure at UGA and within the global swimming community, having won multiple national championships while coaching and mentoring many All-Americans and NCAA post-graduate scholars. His coaching record at Georgia and in the Olympics is unmatched in our athletic history and, on behalf of the entire University of Georgia community, I thank him for his profound contributions to our institution.”
In his time overseeing Georgia’s program, Bauerle produced seven NCAA and 12 SEC crowns with the women’s team, with 62 different men and women team members winning 175 national championships. At NCAAs, his teams posted 48 Top 10 finishes, including 21 Top 5 finishes in 22 seasons for the women’s squad from 1995 through 2017. In his tenure, 304 Georgia student-athletes accumulated 2,116 All-America citations, while Bauerle himself was chosen as the SEC Coach of the Year 18 times (16 with the women, two with the men) and the National Women’s Coach of the Year on seven occasions.
Bauerle led the Bulldog women to 342 dual-meet victories, joining Tom Groden of Boston College as the only members of the 300-wins club. Counting his 253 wins as the Bulldogs’ men’s coach, Bauerle finishes with an overall record of 595-139-4. That figure ranks first among active NCAA coaches, first all time in the SEC, and second on the all-time list. He also made history by leading the Lady Bulldogs to an NCAA-record 103 straight dual wins at Gabrielsen Natatorium from Nov. 8, 1995, through Jan. 5, 2017.
In 2008, Bauerle reached the pinnacle of his coaching success when he was chosen as the United States’ women’s team coach for the Olympics, leading the American women to 14 medals, the most of any nation. Including Beijing, he has coached for Team USA at each of the last six Olympic Games, serving as a women’s assistant in 2000, men’s assistant in 2016 and 2020, and personal coach in 2004 and 2012.
Under Bauerle’s leadership, Georgia produced 87 Olympians representing 20 different nations, earning 38 medals in the process. Georgia swimmers have earned 15 Gold Medals, beginning with Sheila Taormina in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 1996 Atlanta Games. At the 2000 Sydney Games, Kristy Kowal became the first individual medalist as she took Silver in the 200m breaststroke, while in 2012, Allison Schmitt became the program’s first individual Gold Medalist when she won the 200m freestyle in London.
In Tokyo, a contingent of 10 Bulldogs joined Bauerle at the Olympic Aquatics Centre. Starting a run of seven medals won at the meet, Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland led a 1-2 sweep of the 400m IM, giving Georgia its first male gold medalist in an individual event. Schmitt, competing in her fourth games, earned two medals and brought her career total to 10, while Hali Flickinger earned a pair of bronze medals in the 400m IM and 200m butterfly. Additionally, two members of Bauerle’s pro group medaled as Andrew Wilson won gold in the 4x100m medley relay and Natalie Hinds took silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Outside of the water, Bauerle’s teams excelled in the classroom and community as well. Three swimmers, Kowal, Lisa Coole, and Kim Black, were named the NCAA Woman of the Year, tying for the most winners from a single athletic program. With 39 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners, only six schools have more recipients than just the Georgia swimming and diving program. Additionally, the program produced 41 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 416 CSCAA Scholar All-Americans.
Including his tenures as head coach, assistant coach, and student-athlete, Bauerle has been associated with Georgia for over 50 years. During his athletic career, he was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain, graduating in 1975 with an English degree and program records in the 200-yard butterfly and 1,650-yard freestyle. Following graduation, he was an assistant for the men’s team for three seasons and the women for one before being named women’s head coach in 1979, eventually adding the men’s title in 1983.
This past season, Georgia remained one of the nation’s top programs, with the men finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships and the women placing 15th, both surpassing their projected placements. Freshman Matthew Sates and sophomore Jake Magahey posted a 1-2 finish in the 500 freestyle, with both swimmers joining teammates Luca Urlando and Zach Hils for a second-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay, setting an SEC record and the top NCAA relay finish in program history. Urlando finished top-three in all three individual events and set the American Record in the 100 backstroke as he led off the 400 medley relay. Earlier at the SEC Championships, Urlando was named the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy and Swimmer of the Meet with three gold medals in Knoxville.
In the women’s NCAA meet, Zoie Hartman and Dakota Luther both finished top-four in their top events, while freshman Abby McCulloh placed fifth in the mile. Bauerle also provided the commencement address for the fall 2021 ceremony at Sanford Stadium.
Away from his coaching duties, Bauerle has been involved in multiple organizations and community efforts. He has been inducted into the Sphinx Society, Blue Key Honor Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He also served on the board of trustees for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Georgia Athletics will celebrate Bauerle’s illustrious career at a date to be determined in the fall of 2022.
Statement from Tom Cousins Head Coach Jack Bauerle
It’s time for me, for my family, and for my team.
First, I want to thank my wife Leigh Ann, and my sons John, Magill, and Duke for their commitment and sacrifice over the years. Leigh Ann has not only been a huge source of support, but my greatest motivator. The sport of swimming runs year-round and can be all-consuming at times, but they have constantly been understanding and supportive.
Thank you to our president Jere Morehead, our athletic director Josh Brooks, and our sport facilitator Darrice Griffin for their support. President Morehead and Darrice have been critical in helping us navigate these past few years, and with Josh, one of my few regrets is that I only wish we had more time to work together. I also want to share my gratitude to Vince Dooley and Liz Murphey for taking a chance on me in 1979 and entrusting me with this program. Working for and knowing Coach Dooley has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and I cherish our friendship.
Thank you to the student-athletes for everything they have given me over the years. They have truly motivated me as much I have motivated them. During my time, we have had the privilege of coaching 87 Olympians from 20 different nations, bringing home 40 medals in the process. Last year in Tokyo was another major success for our program. In addition to our Olympic success, 62 different athletes have won 175 NCAA championships, with hundreds of All-America honors. I have had so many great kids, and I miss so many of them every day.
But our accomplishments have not only come in the water, but in the classroom as well. Over 43 seasons, our program has produced three NCAA Woman of the Year winners and 39 NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients, more than most athletic departments across the country. Those statistics are the ones that I am proudest of.
Thank you to the coaches I have had the pleasure of working with over all these years. I will miss the conversation, humor, and banter on the deck at 5:30 a.m. We definitely solved a lot of problems before the world woke up every morning, and I am grateful for their dedication and assistance. I especially want to thank Harvey Humphries for serving at my side for 39 years. I am excited to see the coaching careers of my athletes unfold, both here at Georgia and throughout the swimming world.
Additionally, special thanks to the colleagues and mentors who have helped me become a better coach during my career. I specifically want to thank Bob Bowman, Frank Busch, Eddie Reese, Dick Shoulberg, and Jon Urbanchek for their friendship and guidance.
Finally, thank you to the countless members of our support staff who have given their time and talents toward making our program the best one possible. In particular, I want to thank the employees of the Ramsey Center for maintaining a world-class facility for our athletes and our university.
I am not yet sure of what I am going to be doing immediately, but I’ll be doing something. When I left Philadelphia for Athens in 1970, I fell in love with Georgia, but I could have never predicted the good fortune I would encounter and the wonderful people I would meet. I will miss being on the deck every day, but I am forever proud of everything we have accomplished at the University of Georgia.