Compared to rest, Reese among the best

Elijah Perez

Few college coaches have produced bodies of work with one school as men’s swimming and diving head coach Eddie Reese has at Texas.

Reese is coming off of yet another exceptional finish to the season, his 34th at UT. The Horns falling just short of a claiming an 11th national title en route to a second place finish at the NCAA Championships, Reese’s resume deserves a comparison to some of his head coach counterparts here at the 40 Acres.

Texas Athletics has benefitted from some of the country’s most recognizable head coaches in recent memory. Mack Brown’s 14-year tenure has expanded upon a storied tradition of excellence established by Darrell Royal, posting what has become a curriculum vitae of a living legend. This includes a streak of nine straight 10-win seasons, two Big 12 conference titles, one national championship, and a veritable “Who’s Who” of All-Americans and major football award winners.

Texas baseball head coach Augie Garrido’s 16 seasons on campus have seen some of the best years in school history. With seven trips in the past 12 years to the College World Series, two national titles (2002 and 2005), and seven conference titles, Garrido’s imprint on the 40 Acres is one that is befitting of the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.

A full analysis of the legacies and successes of every Texas head coach would fill multi-volume set comparable to the likes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, without any of the supernatural mumbo jumbo and many more hero stories.

But the strongest of the heroes in the UT coaching saga has been here for a tenure surpassing all of his colleagues on campus. From his first season at UT in 1979, Reese has built his team into a juggernaut, taking what was a once program flailing aimlessly in the water, struggling to crack the top 20 in that first year of his reign, and catapulting it to the forefront of collegiate swimming.

Reese has guided the Longhorns to an absurd streak of 33 straight conference titles, dating back to the days of the Southwest Conference and extending to this year’s most recent Big 12 title.
Under Reese, Texas has won 10 national swimming titles. This mark moves Texas into third all-time, sitting behind Michigan and Ohio State who each have 11. He’s the only swimming head coach to win national titles in four separate decades, including a streak of three straight from 2001-2003. And when they haven’t won it all, they’ve been extremely close. Texas has finished in the top two eight times, with top three finishes in 26 out of his 34 years.

Along the way, Reese has developed some of the biggest names in swimming history. Ian Crocker, Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol are just some of the greats who have ties to Coach Reese. With this year’s NCAA figures factored in, Reese has produced 218 All-Americans and 49 individual titles.

And Reese’s contributions transcend domestic boundaries. As the three-time Team USA Olympic head coach, Reese has brought USA Swimming to a dominant position in the world rankings.

Reese has led 26 Olympians to earn a total of 29 gold medals. He’ll be back for more this summer in the 2012 London Games. Be sure to watch as the gold medals pile up yet again for Team USA.

When compared to his fellow head coaches here at Texas, Reese’s contributions are put into a compelling light. While it is certainly difficult to make such analysis across different sports, Reese’s results are difficult to argue with. Though swimming may not be the most recognizable sport on a campus dominated by football, basketball and baseball, Reese has brought an unprecedented level of success to the Texas campus and is deserving of more praise than he is afforded.

Printed on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 as: Horns' Reese stands alone among coaches at Texas, across globe