Ex-Men's Swimming Coach Urbanchek Earns Lifetime Achievement Award
Jon Urbanchek returns as a volunteer assistant coach with the University of Michigan men's swimming and diving team after serving as the program's head coach from 1982-2004. A true legend among swimming coaches, Urbanchek was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame on July 6, 2008, becoming the 18th individual affiliated with U-M to be inducted into the ISHOF.
In 22 seasons as head coach, Urbanchek led the Wolverines to an overall record of 163-34 and a 100-4 mark in the Big Ten Conference. Under his guidance, Michigan won 13 Big Ten titles, including 10 straight during the "Decade of Dominance" from 1986-95. Michigan never finished lower than third at the conference championships during Urbanchek's tenure.
Urbanchek's 1995 team won the NCAA national championship, capturing seven individual event titles in the process: the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles (Gustavo Borges); the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley (Tom Dolan); and the 800-yard freestyle relay (John Piersma, Chris Rumley, Owen vonRichter, Dolan). That year, he was named the NCAA Coach of the Year and American Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year. He also earned Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year honors nine times (1987, '90, '91/co, '93, '94, '95, 2000, '03/co, '04), more than any other men's swimming coach in the history of the conference.
At the Olympic level, 26 of Urbanchek's swimmers have represented their native countries. Ten of them have combined for 17 medals (seven gold, six silver and four bronze), including Tom Dolan's pair of gold medals in the 400-meter individual medley (1996, 2000) and Borges' four medals for Brazil (two silver, two bronze in 1992, '96 and 2000). Most recently, U-M alumni Peter Vanderkaay (2003-06) and Dan Ketchum (2001-04) captured gold on the 800-meter freestyle relay in 2004. Urbanchek served as an assistant coach on the 2004, '00, '96, '92 and '88 Olympic teams and is serving as a special assistant to the U.S. national team head coach, Mark Schubert, at the 2008 Games in Beijing. He was also the coach of the 1994 and '98 U.S. World Championships teams.
Since his retirement as Michigan's head coach in 2004, Urbanchek has been coaching elite level swimmers for Club Wolverine. In February 2009, Urbanchek will be inducted into the State of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
He and wife, Melanie, have one daughter, Kristen and a granddaughter, Claire.
Jon Urbanchek's Career Record at U-M's Career Record at U-M