As the drama of the Olympic swimming trials unfolded this past week, many current and former Longhorns shone bright before a national audience. Ricky Berens, Jimmy Feigen, and Brendan Hansen all performed well enough during the trials in Omaha to join their fellow Americans in London for a chance to compete against the best in the world.
Though the task may seem daunting at first, they’ll have a familiar face by their sides to guide them past any nerves or anxieties. The last Longhorn to punch his ticket to London, the unsung hero who has been representing the U.S. and UT for four decades now, isn’t a competitor at all. The Longhorns’ unsung Olympian is men’s swimming coach Eddie Reese.
Reese didn’t compete for America’s heart on television this past week, nor will he probably be seen at all in London, but his pedigree and lifetime of experience will be priceless to new and veteran Olympians alike. As one of three assistant coaches for the U.S. swim team, the London Games will be the seventh straight Olympics Reese has coached (and for three of those, he served as the U.S. team’s head swim coach).
Reese has been involved in swimming since the 1960s, and his list of accomplishments would leave most gasping in his wake. Since becoming UT swimming’s head coach in 1978, he’s won 10 NCAA championships, been named NCAA Coach of the Year several times, and has been inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor as well as into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor Coach.”
It’s really no wonder the U.S. team keeps inviting Reese back to the Olympics–all he does is win.
At the end of the month, our Longhorn men will be swimming for themselves, their country, and The University of Texas as world watches. Most wouldn’t be there without the wisdom, knowledge, and grooming of Eddie Reese. So while you’ll never see him in our Longhorns’ brightest moments, it’s only fitting that Reese will be right by their side, coaching them from start to finish.
Archival photo courtesy UT Athletics.