Princeton athletic director Mollie Marcoux Samaan announced on Monday that C. Rob Orr is retiring as the head coach of Princeton men’s swimming and diving team. Orr wrapped up a 40-year career at the helm of the Tigers’ program at 2019 NCAA Championships in Austin where freshman Raunak Khosla earned All-American honors with a 11th-place finish in the 400 IM.
Orr’s 330 dual meet victories make him the third-most winning men’s coach in Division I. His teams have earned 23 Ivy League Championship titles, including in seven of the last 11 years. Under Orr’s leadership, Princeton produced 38 individual All-Americans and 24 All-American relays. Princeton has had five Top 20 finishes at the NCAA Championships during Orr’s tenure.
Orr’s swimmers won two NCAA championships in the 200 medley relay in 1989 and 1990. Mike Ross, Ty Nelson, Rich Korhammer and Rob Musslewhite won the event in 1989, while Ross, Nelson, Leroy Kim, and Erik Osborn set an American record while claiming the title the following year. Orr also coached several Olympians, including 1988 Olympic 200 backstroke finalist Dan Veatch, 1992 Olympic double gold medalist Nelson Diebel, 2000 and 2004 Olympian Juan Pablo Valdivieso, and 2008 Olympians Bryan Tay and current assistant coach Doug Lennox.
Princeton finished either 1st or 2nd in its conference (which until 2009 included several other schools in addition to the eight Ivies) every season from 1982-83 until 2016-17, when the Tigers did not compete in the second half of the season. After Princeton received a complaint about material on the University-sponsored men’s swimming and diving team listserv that was described in a press release as “vulgar,” “offensive,” “racist,” and “misogynistic,” Orr and Marcoux Samaan made the decision to suspend the men’s team for the second half of 2016-17 season. Competition resumed in 2017-18 and the Tigers finished second to Harvard in each of the last two seasons.
Orr received the Richard E. Steadman Award in 2015, and honor conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in high school, club, or university ranks who, in the opinion of the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving.
Orr graduated from USC in 1972. In addition to coaching at Princeton, he served as head coach at the 1991 Olympic Festival and was the head women’s coach for the 1993 U.S. national junior team. He has also served on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee.
Princeton’s press release announced that a national search for Orr’s replacement would begin immediately.