Longtime Springfield College Coach John Taffe Announces Retirement After 35 Years

by SwimSwam 1

March 27th, 2024 College, NCAA Division III, News

Courtesy: Springfield College Athletics

Springfield, Mass. – March 25, 2024 – After a 35-year career at Springfield College, head men’s and women’s swimming coach John Taffe has announced his retirement. Under Taffe’s leadership over the past three-plus decades, the Pride has remained one of the best collegiate swimming and diving programs in Division III.

“When I learned 35 years ago that I would be the next head swimming coach at Springfield College, I knew I was taking a position of great prestige and following legends who had laid the foundation before me.  How thankful I am to then-Director of Athletics, Dr. Edward Bilik, for taking a chance on me for what has turned into a career filled with so many memories created and relationships forged.  To have spent the last 35 years alongside Pete Avdoulos, the most loyal, humble, accomplished professional that I know has been so special; our time together has created one of the most meaningful relationships in my life and I am so lucky to call him a friend.   I’ve been blessed with great assistant coaches along the way, many of whom are continuing to make a profound impact on the swimming world across a variety of levels.  I’ve loved working with our students for all these years to help them grow and develop as athletes and individuals; I’m immensely grateful for the privilege to have guided them through their journeys, both in and out of the pool.  My time at Springfield College is one that I will always cherish, but now it’s time for a life where time at the beach, on the golf course, and with my wife Ann is my focus. ”

During his time on Alden Street, Taffe led Springfield’s swimmers to 176 NCAA All-America recognitions, including 123 on the women’s side and 53 within the men’s program.  He was recognized with 10 NEWMAC Coach of the Year honors as he led Springfield to 11 NEWMAC Championships throughout his career, highlighted by a remarkable stretch of 10-straight titles for the women’s program from 2001-2010.  His impact was felt on the international stage as well as he served as the head coach for the Netherlands-Antilles squad at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.  Additionally, he mentored a number of Springfield College student-athletes that would compete in multiple Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Coach Taffe’s dedication and commitment to our swimmers over the past 35 years is hard to capture.  Under his leadership, an extraordinary number of our student-athletes garnered All-America status, team championships were won, national champions were crowned and our swimmers thrived, including a handful of Olympians,” said Springfield College Director of Athletics, Craig Poisson. “Beyond John’s proven coaching acumen, our men’s and women’s swimming programs were consistently recognized on the national level for their outstanding success in the classroom. Coach Taffe embodied the teacher-coach model at Springfield College. I trust John will be replacing the many long days on the pool deck with time on the golf course and I am grateful his efforts during a remarkable tenure and I wish him the best in retirement.”

Prior to joining the Springfield College staff in 1989, Taffe served as the men’s and women’s coach at Mount Union College in Ohio for one season and head women’s coach at East Carolina University for two years.

A native of Haverhill, Mass., Taffe attended the University of Rhode Island, where he was a five-time New England swimming champion as well as a two-time All-New England water polo selection for the Rams. Taffe received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from URI in 1985 and his master’s degree in education from East Carolina in 1988.

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olde coach
1 month ago

One of the best! A true gentleman who “oozes” class……….thank you John for being a great mentor and role model to many throughout your distinguished career!