By USA Swimming | Friday, November 10, 2017
LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The legendary Jon Urbanchek, a member of six U.S. Olympic Swimming Team coaching staffs, was honored Thursday as the inaugural recipient of the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Award.
Presented at the IOC Women and Sport Gala, the IOC Coaches Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize outstanding achievements and contributions to Olympians’ lives and the Olympic Movement.
Spanning a 20-year stretch, Urbanchek was a member of six U.S. Olympic Team coaching staffs – 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Forty-four Urbanchek-coached swimmers qualified for the Olympic Games, with this group winning more than 20 medals, including 11 gold medals. He coached Rod Strachan to the Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in 1976 and was the primary coach of at least one Olympic gold medalist at every Olympic Games from 1996 to 2012.
Urbancheck was the primary coach of Olympic stars Mike Barrowman, Tom Dolan, Tom Malchow, Eric Namesnik, Eric Wunderlich, Gustavo Borges and Brent Lang and also has worked closely with many other legends, including Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.
Additionally, his coaching tree has spawned many of today’s top American coaches, including fellow U.S. Olympic staff members Bob Bowman, Bruce Gemmell and Dave Salo.
“Jon Urbanchek is my role model, mentor and dear friend. He is one of best coaches and people this sport has ever seen,” said Bowman, the U.S. men’s head coach for the 2016 Olympic Games. “Jon’s kindness and humor, paired with unmatched technical and scientific knowledge has helped a generation of swimmers and coaches advance our sport. No one is more deserving of this award for lifetime achievement.”
On the collegiate front, Urbanchek was the men’s head coach at the University of Michigan from 1983-2004 where he led the Wolverines to 13 Big Ten Conference titles, including 10 straight from 1986-95. A native of Hungary, Urbanchek was an All-American swimmer at Michigan from 1958-62.
He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.