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20070612 Digging into the Future with Frank Busch
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/12/2007
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By Corky Simpson

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Frank Busch enjoys a morning climb up the diving tower at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, not to work on his reverse one- and-a-half ?with three-and-a-half twists -- but to see what's new in ˇ?the dig."

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Never has a hole in the ground made a man happier than the "dig" on the University of Arizona's McKale Center lawn.

Itˇ?s the $20 million construction project that will provide new swimming and diving, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball practice facilities.

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The target date for completion is September or October of 2008.

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"Awesome," said Busch, the Wildcat swimming coach after a recent peek from the diving tower. ˇ?Iˇ?ve never been any place where they did so much for swimming and diving. ?This will help us tremendously,ˇ± he said.

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ˇ?It will allow us to spread the team out so we're not so congested. It gives us more water-space. We'll have an extra eight lanes for swimming.? There'll be four more than that if the diving team isn't practicing."

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Excited, coach? ?"Oh, boy!? This will really be something," said Busch, one of the most respected coaches in the country. ˇ?It will benefit all the sports involved, thatˇ?s whatˇ?s really great about it.ˇ±

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The new construction could also allow for an often-discussed women's water polo team, which could begin competition by 2010 if the UA adds the additional sport to its 19-sport menu.

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One pool that doesn't show up on the blueprints but certainly figures into the plans is the talent pool. ?It figures to be enlarged, thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities. And it ought to create even more enthusiasm for aquatics locally.

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Busch notes that in the past six years or so, there has been an increase in the number of high school athletes in the Tucson area who have made a splash in Division I competition, such as Tyler DeBerry and Dave Rollins from Sabino High School and Lacey Nymeyer from Mountain View.

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"Tucson has grown so much since I first came here," Busch said.? "Pima County is about a million in population now, which means it probably has doubled since I came here in 1989. The more people there are, the more outstanding athletes will emerge.? Look at Lute (Olson) and the fine basketball players he has recruited out of the state in the last 10 or 12 years,ˇ± Busch said.

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Busch, a native Kentuckian, has built Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation's strongest collegiate programs.? He won his fourth NCAA Men's Coach of the Year award in 2005-06. ?Moreover, as Rocky LaRose, senior associate athletics director, points out, ˇ?Frank was awarded the first ever McKale Award as the UA Coach of the Year, voted on by Wildcat student-athletes.ˇ±

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ˇ?Frank truly cares about his student-athletes and that shows in his coaching,ˇ± LaRose said. ˇ?He is so respected by the athletes.? His character is above reproach and he has found this incredible balance between being firm and competitive and being caring and fatherly. Thatˇ?s a great combination that any university, any AD, any athlete would want in a coach,ˇ± she said.

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Athletic director Jim Livengood couldnˇ?t agree more. ˇ?Frank Busch is truly a remarkable man,ˇ± Livengood said.? ˇ?First and foremost, he is an amazing husband, father, role model and leader. The fact that he is the best in his profession just adds frosting to the cake.

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ˇ?Itˇ?s hard to imagine that anyone in college athletics gets more out of what they have than does Frank.? He never complains, is appreciative of everything he has and gets ?C and he works every day to get better,ˇ± Livengood said.

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ˇ?There are few Frank Buschˇ?s in the world and we are lucky to have one right here at the U of A.? I hope everyone knows and appreciates what a jewel we have in this man and the Busch family. I feel better regarding what weˇ?re all about every time Iˇ?m around Frank Busch,ˇ± Livengood said.

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It will be a busy summer, as usual, for the quiet man from Kentucky, ˇ?coaching kids here, having kids compete in the Pan-Am Games and the World University Games,ˇ± he said of his normal offseason. Then thereˇ?s the national championships meet in Indianapolis in August, involving probably 35 of Frankˇ?s athletes.

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Busch is a man with a noble disposition who sees life steadily, and sees it whole. Swimming, he says, involves much discipline and commitment. ˇ?These athletes swim before school in the morning,ˇ± he said, ˇ?and they swim after school at night.? In between, they study and they put that discipline exercised in swimming into their classwork.ˇ±

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It pays off. The women's team finished second and the men's team third in the NCAA Championships a few months back.

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The commitment to excellence and exposure to discipline is one reason Busch says, ˇ?We get calls from corporations asking us ˇ®What seniors do you have?ˇ?? They know how very dedicated our athletes are and thatˇ?s the kind of people they want to hire.ˇ±

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And as LaRose pointed out, Frank Busch is the kind of man any university would want to hire. The UA is as proud of him as Busch is of that ˇ?new digˇ± he loves to check on each morning.

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