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Frank Busch Biography
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 08, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Entering his 16th year as head coach of the Wildcats, Frank Busch has transformed University of Arizona swimming and diving into one of the nation’s most powerful programs. With the conclusion of the 2003-04 season, Busch produced two of the top teams in the nation. The women finished the NCAA Championships in third place to upset Stanford, California and Florida and the men had an equally-impressive finish as they placed fourth. Busch was recognized for these accomplishments as the 2004 NCAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year. He was also named the 2004 Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Busch was later named an assistant coach on the staff of the women’s U.S. Olympic Team at the 28th Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Busch will continue his commitment to bringing honor to the University of Arizona through the success of its swimming and diving programs.

Since taking over the Arizona program in 1989, Busch’s teams have maintained a steady presence in the nation’s Top 10. His women’s team has had Top-10 finishes in each of the last 14 years, including NCAA runner-up finishes in both 1998 and 2000. The Arizona men have been in the Top 10 in 12 of the last 15 years, including a current streak of seven straight Top-10 finishes. The 2000 season saw the UA men grab a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the best in the program’s history.

Arizona’s women also won a conference title in the highly competitive Pac-10 in 2000, and Busch has been named Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year four times (1991, 1998, 2000, 2004). Busch has led Arizona’s men on a climb through the national rankings as well, and in 1993, he was named the NCAA Division I Coach of the Year. He was also selected the Pac-10 Men’s Coach of the Year in 1993 and 2000.

In addition to his collegiate honors, Busch received the highest recognition of United States Swimming in 1998, when he was chosen the USA Swimming Coach of the Year. The United States Olympic Committee also bestowed its highest annual honor upon Busch, as he was selected the 1998 USOC National Coach of the Year. These honors followed a national championship season for Busch’s club affiliate, Hillenbrand Aquatics.

In each of the last 14 seasons, Arizona swimming and diving has produced at least one individual NCAA champion, and during that stretch, the program also posted nine national champion relays. In all, the Arizona women have accumulated 200 individual All-America honors, 63 All-America relay performances, 26 total Pac-10 titles and 18 total NCAA titles during Busch’s tenure. The Wildcat men have been equally impressive under Busch, with 146 individual All-America honors, 63 All-America relay performances, 34 total Pac-10 titles and 16 total NCAA titles.

Now in his 36th year as swimming coach, Busch came to Arizona from the University of Cincinnati, where he was head coach from 1980-89. He was honored twice as the Metro Conference Women’s Coach of the Year. The Bearcat men broke into the top 20, and the women finished as high as 13th at the NCAA Championships.

Busch began his coaching career at the age of 16 in his hometown of Edgewood, Ky. He took his first full-time position as head coach of the Northern Kentucky Piranhas age group and senior programs from 1974-78. Busch was an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Marlins from 1979-80, where he instructed 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 at Arizona, swimmers on both the men’s and women’s teams have earned Academic All-Pac-10 recognition. His teams’ grade-point averages are consistently among the best in the Wildcat athletic department, and during his time at Cincinnati, his teams’ GPAs exceeded 3.0 for eight straight years. In 1991, Steve Herron, an All-American distance swimmer for the Wildcats, was a Rhodes Scholar candidate.

Busch and his wife, Patty, have five children ?- Frank (29), a UA graduate and an attorney in Phoenix; Augie (28), a UA graduate and a current assistant coach with the Cats; Peter (25), a former UA swimmer and now a reporter for Tucson’s NBC affiliate, KVOA; Molly (23), a UA graduate working in Los Angeles; and Sam (21), a junior at the UA.

Frank Busch’s Career Honors

NCAA Women’s Coach of the year
Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the year
U.S. Olympic Women’s Assistant Coach
World Championships Coach
Pac-10 Men’s Coach of the Year
Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year
Pan-Pacific Games Coach
USA Swimming Coach of the Year
U.S. Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year
World Championships Coach
Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year
Pan-Pacific Games Head Coach
NCAA Coach of the Year
Pac-10 Men’s Coach of the Year
World University Games Coach
Pac-10 Women’s Coach of the Year

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