Men’s swimming coach Skip Kenney retires after historic career

May 17, 2012, 1:40 a.m.

Stanford men’s swimming head coach Skip Kenney is calling it a career after 33 years on the Farm. The 69-year-old coach was one of the legends of the swimming world, winning 31 consecutive conference titles from 1982 through 2012, a streak that more than doubles the previous Pac-10 record for any sport (John Wooden’s 14-year streak in men’s basketball at UCLA).

Men's swimming coach Skip Kenney retires after historic career
Stanford men's swimming head coach Skip Kenney is retiring after 33 years on the job. Kenney led Stanford to seven NCAA titles and 31 straight conference championships. (Courtesy of Dani Vernon)

During this same 31-year period, Kenney led Stanford to a top-four national finish every year, the longest streak in history. Kenney won seven NCAA titles in his 33-year run after the Cardinal had just one title and four top-three finishes in the 45 years before Kenney arrived.

Under Kenney’s leadership, Stanford produced 72 individual NCAA champions, 134 All-Americans and 1,086 total All-American awards in 33 years. In addition, 20 athletes went on to the Olympics, winning a total of 18 medals. Kenney coached many of them as Olympic head coach of men’s swimming in the 1996 Games.

Perhaps most importantly for the six-time National Coach of the Year and 20-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Kenney had a 100 percent graduation rate during his tenure at Stanford, including 10 Academic All-Americans.

The Long Beach State graduate never swam competitively, but he has made an enormous impact on the swimming world as a coach. Kenney will coach Stanford swimmers through the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 2 before calling it quits.

– Jacob Jaffe

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