Michael Rawleigh has been named the 2020 recipient of the Richard E. Steadman Award. The recognition goes to a coach who “has done the most to spread happiness in the sport of swimming and diving,” with selections made by the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association’s (CSCAA) executive board. UC Davis head coach Barbara Jahn won this award last year.
Rawleigh served as the head coach of the Gettysburg College swimming & diving program in the NCAA’s Division III for 34 years, the 2018-19 season being his last. At Gettysburg, he coached his athletes to 42 Centennial Conference event titles, while the men won 15 conference titles and the women 14 since the conference’s inception in the early 1990s. Rawleigh coached 51 All-Americans in his tenure at Gettysburg.
Rawleigh was nominated by three separate head coaches: George Kennedy of Johns Hopkins, Alan Boelk of UW Stevens Point and Peter Casares of Bates College.
“He understands fully that our athletes are the true champions,” said Kennedy, a Steadman winner. “His honest approach to the sport, and sometimes brutal truth-telling to his athletes, led to a mutual respect I have yet to see duplicated.”
“His perspective on the sport and on life not only benefited his swimmers but the other coaches around him,” said Boelk. “He’s helped me through all sorts of things and talked sense into me whether it was about swimming, relationships or life. He offered all of this even though I would only see him on the pool deck once a year.”
Rawleigh was chosen over a long list of nominees, which included Dan Ross (Purdue University), Sean Peters (Wayne State University), Joe Lucia (Cornell), Jack Roach (Tide Swimming), Dale Rothenberger (Hartwick College), Al Switzer (Plymouth State), Pat Snively (Fairmont State) and Michael Westkott (University of Rhode Island). You can see the full CSCAA release here.