Famed Swim Coach Ray Bussard Dies

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Famed college swim coach Ray Bussard, who once coached at Chattanooga and Red Bank high schools, has died.

After becoming swim coach at the University of Tennessee in 1967, he built the Vol squad into a national power.

While in Chattanooga, he was aquatics director for the city's summer swim programs.

He was born on Aug. 12, 1928, in Hot Springs, Va. After attending Ohio University on a football scholarship, Bussard transferred to Bridgewater College in Virginia, where he received a B.A. degree in physical education and was the 1952 National AAU All-Around Champion in track and field. Bussard coached football, basketball, baseball, and track at schools in Virginia before moving to Chattanooga in 1959.

At the time he went to Knoxville, UT had not had a swim program since 1959. His first team, composed entirely of freshmen, concluded the 1968 season with a surprising second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference. The next year, the Volunteers won the SEC championship, and Tennessee swim teams began a decade of domination that saw seven straight Southeastern Conference titles and culminated with a national championship in 1978. During those years Bussard coached two Olympic gold medalists, Dave Edgar in 1972 and Matt Vogel in 1976.

According to the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Bussard became known for the added color he brought to the sport of swimming. Tennessee swimmers donned coonskin caps and poured jugs of water from the UT Aquatic Center into their opponents' pools before meets. At home meets, Bussard featured the Vol Timettes, women students who served as timers and scorekeepers, an innovation that many schools copied.

Bussard was named NCAA Coach of the Year in 1972 and 1978, and was SEC Coach of the Year five times. He was the sprint coach for the U.S. swim team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. That same year, he received the Outstanding Coach of the Year award from the American Swim Coaches' Association, and the College Swimming Coaches Association honored him with the National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy for outstanding contributions made to the sport. In 1988 Bussard was inducted into the Knoxville and Tennessee Sports Halls of Fame. In June 1988 Bussard retired from the University of Tennessee, where his record was 252-20.


Wheeler, Byrd Leads Notre Dame To District Win Over Signal Mountain

Notre Dame outscored Signal Mountain 27-16 in the third quarter to take a key district win Monday night.  Notre Dame led 30-20 at the half and finished the game with a convincing 76-48 win.  Davian Wheeler had 19 points and three assists to lead the Irish.  Tyler Byrd had 18 points.   Signal Mountain was led by Jarken Radden who finished with 17 points. ... (click for more)

Georgia Crate Late Model Champion, Dalton's Craig Reece, Dies At 35

Crate Late Model Champion Craig Reece, 35, known in racing circles as "The Dalton Bad Boy", died overnight in his Georgia home. An autopsy is planned after Reece “just didn’t wake up this morning,” said former Dirt Track World Champion Marshall Green of Woodstock's Capital Race Cars, Reece’s chassis manufacturer and a long-time family friend. He was discovered at 7 a.m. ... (click for more)

State's TNReady Testing Program Has "Severe Network Outage"; Testing To Be By Pencil And Paper

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said Monday afternoon that the state's TNReady testing program had suffered "a severe network outage." Commissioner Edwards said the testing will go on, but it will have to be done with pencil and paper. She sent this email to school directors across the state: Directors, Thank you for your patience as we faced technical ... (click for more)

Brandon Bettis, 25, Arrested For Home Invasion; 2 Other Suspects Being Sought

Brandon Bettis, 25, was arrested after a home invasion early Monday morning, and two other suspects are being sought. Chattanooga Police responded to the 1100 block of Thomas Lane at 6:30 a.m. on the report of a home invasion robbery.  The suspects entered the home of the victims, James Shrum, 47, and Hillary Schooley, 25.   The victims were wakened and threatened ... (click for more)

The City Failed To Watch The Chattanooga History Museum Dollars - And Response (3)

The tell tale signs of the History Museum's folly have been evident for years. When I was a former member of City Council I interviewed Dr. Daryl Black, Ph.D. to determine if I should argue for or against the annual funding of his organization. His interview, the multi-year history of administrative non-performance (despite consistent repetitive funding), and a review of the organizational ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Greenholtz: A No-Brainer

I am going to make this as simple as I possibly can. There are three fine lawyers now running for Criminal Court Judge and anywhere you go there will be people who like and admire Tom Greenholtz, Boyd Patterson and Mike Little. But when we select a judge, it should never be based on popularity. That’s why Gov. Haslam picked Greenholtz over both Little and Patterson this summer to ... (click for more)