The influence that Busch experienced early in life has followed him to Arizona. Since taking command of the Wildcat program in 1989, Busch has transformed Arizona swimming into one of the nation's top contenders. The women's team has finished in the top 15 at the NCCA Championships during all 12 seasons of the Frank Busch era. The women won the Pacific-10 title for the first time ever in 2000, and Busch was honored as the Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year in 1991, 1998 and 2000.
Busch has led the men's team in a climb through the national rankings, from seventh to fourth and then an all-time high third-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Championship. Busch was named the 1993 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year after his team finished fourth at NCAAs.
In addition to being named the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1993, Busch was honored as the Pac-10 Men's Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He also was named the 2000 Women's Pac-10 Coach of the Year as his squad earned two NCAA titles, 12 All-America honors and broke eight school records. In all, he has produced 54 school records, 73 individual All-Americans and 11 NCAA champions (14 titles) on the women's side and 60 school records. He has coached 81 All-Americans and 10 NCAA champions (15 titles) on the men's side.
In 2000, the women's team finished with its most successful season in UA history. The stellar season consisted of a first-place finish at the Pac-10 Championship, as well as a history-making second-place finish at NCAAs. At the NCAAs, the 800 free relay squad of Trina Jackson, Sarah Tolar, Jenny Vanker and Emily Mastin won the national championship. Freshman Beth Botsford also won an NCAA title in the 200 backstroke. Overall, the women had 12 All-America selections, nine honorable mention All-Americans, established eight new school records and won one individual NCAA Championship.
The 2000 men's team finished the season in third place at the NCAA Championship. This was the highest team finish in the history of the men's program, which began in 1932. Senior Ryk Neethling brought home two NCAA Championship titles in the 200 freestyle and the 400 freestyle. Neethling closed out his Wildcat career with nine individual titles - the most titles earned by any one student-athlete in the school's 103-year history.
After all was said and done in 1999-2000, both the men's and women's squads had produced 23 first-team All-Americans, 16 honorable mention All-Americans, established 18 new school records and won three NCAA individual championships.
The 1998-99 season saw the women's team finish fourth at NCAAs and the men's team in fifth place. Lindsay Farella, Denali Knapp, Emily Mastin and Sarah Tolar were all a part of the 400 freestyle relay national championship team, while Ryk Neethling was an individual champion in the 200, 500 and 1650 freestyle.
Busch's accomplishments were recognized in the fall of 1998 when he was named the USA Swimming Coach of the Year by USA Swimming. The governing body that oversees all of the United states Olympic teams, the USOC, also bestowed their highest annual honor upon Busch as he was tapped the 1998 USOC National Coach of the Year. In August 1998, Busch also coached for Hillenbrand Aquatics, whose women's team ran away with the national title, winning by 157 points, while Team Hillenbrand also won the combined men's and women's team national championship.
In 1994, the women finished fifth at the NCAA Championship, tying their previous best finish in 1992. Busch witnessed a school first, as Ashley Tappin became the first Arizona woman to win two NCAA titles, the 50 and 200 free, in the same meet. Tappin was also the first Arizona woman since Crissy Ahmann-Leighton to win a Pac-10 and a NCAA Championship in the same year.
Busch, now in his 31st year of coaching, came to Arizona from the University of Cincinnati, where he was head coach from 1980-89. He was twice honored as Metro Conference Women's Coach of the Year. The Bearcat men compiled a dual meet record of 56-31, and the women broke into the top 20 at the NCAA Championships.
He began his U.S. Swimming coaching career as head coach of the Northern Kentucky Piranhas age group and senior programs from 1974-78 and was an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Pepsi Marlins from 1979-80, where he coached current Arizona assistant coach Greg Rhodenbaugh. The Marlins placed six swimmers on the 1980 Olympic team and broke three world records.
Busch truly believes in the concept of the "student athlete" and stresses work in the classroom as well as in the pool. Each year since his arrival, his swimmers on both the men's and women's teams have earned Pac-10 all-academic recognition. His teams' grade-point average is consistently among the best in the athletic department. In 1991, Steve Herron, an All-American distance swimmer, was a Rhodes Scholar candidate. At Cincinnati, his teams' grade-point average for eight years exceeded 3.0.
Busch earned his degree from Loyola (Ill.) University in 1973, where he competed in both swimming and water polo. In addition to his duties as head coach, Busch works closely with the distance freestyle and 400 IM swimmers.
He and his wife, Patty, have five children: Frank (25), a UA graduate and practicing attorney in Phoenix; Augie (24), a 1998 Arizona graduate and high school swim coach and volunteer assistant coach with the Arizona men's and women's swim teams; Peter (21), a senior at Arizona; Molly (19), an Arizona sophomore; and Sam (17), a high school junior.
Head Coach Frank Busch |
1999 Pac-10 Men's Coach of the Year