Peter Daland, the longtime coach of the USC Trojans and two-time Olympic coach for USA Swimming, has passed away at the age of 93 due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the University.
Daland coached at the University of Southern California for 35 years, from the late ’50s until 1992, winning 9 NCAA Championships in that time. He’s still the only coach ever to win all three major national championships: the NCAA championship, the AAU men’s championship and the AAU women’s championship. He won 14 AAU titles with the USC men and 2 with the women of the L.A. Aquatic Club.
Daland also coached the American Olympic team in two different Olympiads. He led the U.S. women’s program at the 1964 Olympics, helping the team win 15 total medals out of the 24 given out in all. He then led the U.S. men at the 1972 Olympics, aiding Mark Spitz‘s record-setting 7-gold, 7-world-record performance.
His career numbers are staggering. His Trojans went 318-31-1, including 20 undefeated seasons in his 35-year tenure. His teams racked up 93 individual NCAA titles and over 150 wins at the Pac-10 Championships.
A true giant in the history of the sport, Daland is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the American Swim Coaches Hall of Fame, and the pool of USC’s new Uytengsu Aquatics Center is named in his honor.
Athletes, coaches and administrators across the sport have responded to the news with effusive praise for Daland’s long and storied career. Below are several notable tributes from those who knew Coach Daland:
USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus: “Coach Peter Daland was, without question, a giant in the sport of swimming. The life he led, the many he positively impacted and the contributions he made are unmatched. Coach Daland carried himself in a manner that brought respect from everyone he met and for every institution he represented, including USA Swimming. The American swimming family and the international swimming community have unfortunately lost one of our sport’s most iconic figures.”
Current USC Trojan head coach Dave Salo: “The world of swimming has lost one of its most progressive minds. Personally, I have lost a great and close personal friend. Peter was instrumental in teaching me the championship process. He was about relationships and driving the process to championship performance through team work. As the current USC head coach, I have tried to carry on many of Peter’s traditions. For instance, I spec out the championship meet the way Peter always did, I remind our athletes like Peter did how important timeliness is and we continue to foster an environment where our alumni are celebrated guests on our deck as they always were when Peter was coaching here.”
John Naber, winner of 5 Olympic medals, 4 of them gold, and 10 NCAA titles under Daland: “The sport lost a great man, and I lost a dear friend. I shall always be grateful to Coach Daland for his ability to push me outside my comfort zone. He was a rarity in college coaching, because he was equally concerned with his team’s academic and social growth as he was with his swimmers’ athletic accomplishments. He knew every swimmer’s name, academic major and the names of family members and girlfriends. Although many of his swimmers achieved international acclaim, he never altered his style to accommodate any one individual. When Coach Daland was on deck, the pool at USC held no stars, only squad members. He made it a point to address each swimmer by name at least once per workout. He wanted his swimmers to be self-reliant, responsible and as good as they could possibly be in all aspects of life. He often pushed his swimmers to try off events and he challenged his teams to live up to the standards set by prior teams. He brought a wealth of knowledge and understanding on how to get the most out of his teams, and his swimmers repaid him with great admiration, loyalty and respect.”
Bruce Furniss, Olympic gold medalist, former world record-holder and one of four brothers to swim for Daland: “Peter Daland was a giant. He was to swimming what John Wooden was to basketball. He cared deeply about you as a swimmer and as a person, and he did it in both a loving way and a strong parental way. He brought his East Coast pedigree and prestige to USC, and he proved to be the bridge between the sport’s pioneer coaches and today’s modern-era coaches. I am so glad I came to USC and swam for him. But maybe the best times we had were these past 10 or 15 years when we would get together, he would tell me about his life and we would laugh nostalgically about the good old days.”
From USC’s press release on the subject:
“In lieu of flowers, Daland’s family requests that donations be made to the Peter Daland Endowed Head Swimming Coach’s Chair to endow the men’s swimming head coach’s position (c/o Ron Orr, USC Athletic Department, Heritage Hall, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-0602).”
Daland leaves behind his wife, whom he had been married to for almost 50 years, along with 5 children and 8 grandchildren. There will be a private memorial service for immediate family, but a public memorial service will take place at a future date, according to USC.