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.



McCallie's Leo Procise To Become Head Diving Coach At GPS

McCallie football and track and field coach Dr. Leo Procise will become the varsity head diving coach at GPS in 2018-19. Dr. Procise, who also teaches AP biology at McCallie, previously coached diving at several high schools in Indiana and was the assistant coach at Indiana International School of Diving. While at IISD, Procise taught diving skills to athletes of all ages and skill ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Signs Gracie Goode For Volleyball

Teams at Georgia Northwestern have signed athletes from Dade County High School in previous years for basketball, golf, and cheerleading.   Now they have completed the full set as the Lady Bobcats have their first-ever volleyball player from the Trenton school.   Senior Gracie Goode became the newest member of the GNTC spike squad after recently signing ... (click for more)

City Stormwater Board Approves Water Quality And Development Fee Increases

The city Stormwater Regulations Board on Monday recommended that the city approve water quality and land development increases sought by the Berke administration, though board members said there had not been enough time for the board and the public to study the fee hikes. Bill Payne, city engineer, said the water quality fee increase would amount to an average $11 per year per ... (click for more)

Blakemore Gets 23-Year Prison Term For Selling Heroin That Caused Death Of Red Bank Man

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced Darius Jermaine Blakemore to 23 years in federal prison for selling heroin to a Red Bank man who overdosed and died.   Blakemore, 29, had gone to trial on the case, but it was announced in the middle of the trial that both sides had agreed to the 23-year term. Blakemore had faced 30 years to life.   Blakemore ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Is This Civil War II?

Jack Minzey, by all accounts, was a beloved professor at Eastern Michigan and, as the head of the university’s School of Education, wrote many books and papers. Some were on the Civil War – he was an avid student of our nation’s worst moment – and his beliefs how to better public education will be quoted for years. Dr. Minzey died at age 89 last month and just last week, the ... (click for more)