Former Rutgers, U.S. Olympic Coach Frank Elm Dies At 92

Longtime Rutgers University head coach and two-time U.S. Olympic coach Frank Elm died on Tuesday night at the age of 92.

Elm was widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the United States for decades, taking over the Rutgers men’s swimming & diving program in 1961 and adding the role as women’s head coach in 1974.

Elm also served as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic swimming team in both 1968 and 1976.

He would lead the Scarlet Knights all the way until 1993, overseeing the construction of a new pool at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center towards the end of his tenure. Elm was very vocal about how difficult it was to coach a winning program with the poor facilities that Rutgers had relative to their competitors (check out this New York Times article from 1974), leading the charge in getting the new pool completed in 1991.

He led the Scarlet Knights to 11-straight winning seasons from 1961 to 1972, and after the women’s team was introduced prior to the 1974-75 campaign, they started off with three consecutive seasons undefeated.

Inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998, Elm was described as “the driving force in the development of the swimming and diving program,” and is the namesake of the “Frank Elm Invitational” that was hosted annually at Rutgers up until 2017.

An All-American swimmer at Indiana University and a swimmer-coach in the Marine Corps, Elm also coached the 1967 Pan American Games team, along with two U.S. National Teams that toured Japan in 1975 and the former Soviet Union in 1981.

In total, coached 10 different swimmers to qualify for the Olympic team.

In 2004, Elm was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

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Ron Neugent
5 months ago

The 1980 United States Olympic Book, which has names and photos of the team members and staff, lists George Haines as the Head Coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.

PRK528
Reply to  Ron Neugent
5 months ago

Correct, Ron!
per the Swimming World covering Irvine:
O L Y M P I C STAFF
George Haines. F o x c a t c h e r . . . . . . . . . . . . H e a d C o a c h
Dennis Pursley, Cin. Pepsi M a r l i n s . . . . . . A s s t . C o a c h
M a r k Schubert. M i s s i o n V i e j o . . . . . . . . . . . Asst. C o a c h
Randy Reese, F l… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by PRK528
Snarky
5 months ago

Sad to hear. Frank was a good man.

Denise Letendre
5 months ago

As an alumni of the Rutgers Women’s Swimming and Diving team, I am so grateful for Frank’s role as an advocate for women’s athletics and for leading the program in its infancy. His quotes in the New York Times article seem ahead of his time.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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