Purdue Head Men’s Swim Coach Dan Ross Will Retire After 38 Seasons In Charge

Purdue University head men’s swimming & diving coach Dan Ross has announced his “intention to retire” from the program after a 38-year career with the Boilermakers that saw him become the second-longest tenured head coach in the history of Purdue Athletics.

Ross has been the head coach of the Boilermakers since the 1985-86 school year, a 38-year tenure. As a Purdue alumnus that originally arrived on campus in the fall of 1977 and later a four-year assistant coach from 1981-82 to 1984-85, Ross has been associated with Purdue Swimming & Diving for 46 seasons.

Dan Ross and Purdue Swimming & Diving have become virtually synonymous over the past 40-plus years,” said Mike Bobinski, Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “Dan has dedicated his life’s work to Purdue University and used his platform, first as an assistant coach, then through a remarkable 38-year head coaching tenure, to positively impact the lives of countless student-athletes, coaches and staff members. The connections Dan has with our former swimmers is a testament to his character and influence on their success while at Purdue and beyond. Purdue Athletics is forever grateful to Dan for his unwavering commitment to excellence in every aspect of the student-athlete experience, and we look forward to building from his vision and honoring his legacy in the years ahead. Dan is the epitome of a Purdue Boilermaker, and we wish him and his family all the best as he steps away to begin a well-earned next chapter.”

Ross plans to coach the Boilermakers at the CSCAA National Invitational Championship and NCAA Championships in the coming weeks and officially retire at the end of June, one day after his 64th birthday on June 29.

Ross won his three Big Ten Coach of the Year awards in three different decades – 1988, 1997 and 2009. He helped design the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center. Under his guidance, Purdue has scored at the NCAA Championships in 26 consecutive seasons and finished top 25 in 14 of the last 17 – with big support from the diving program. The men’s program produced at least one Big Ten event champion every year from 2015 through 2021. The most recent swimming champion was Marat Amaltdinov, who won back-to-back 200 breaststroke titles in 2016 and 2017, part of a run of three consecutive for Purdue.

Last year, he was a recipient of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America’s Richard E. Steadman Award, which recognizes individuals for doing the most to spread happiness in the sport.

Purdue is expected to qualify two individual swimmers for the NCAA Championships when those invites are released Wednesday: Brady Samuels and Nick Sherman.

Ross has guided Boilermakers to international berths at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Games, World University Games, Southeast Asian Games, and Maccabi Games. He was part of the U.S. coaching staff at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok.

“It has been the privilege of my life to coach this team,” Ross said. “I loved every swimmer that I had the honor of coaching here at Purdue – from Lambert Pool or the original outdoor pool at the CoRec to the last 20 years at an unbelievable facility that is the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center. I told the current team, ‘I love each and every one of you unconditionally and that will never go away.’ This was a difficult decision, but my family helped me confirm what I knew in my heart – that it was time. Purdue Swimming & Diving is in amazing hands because of the people within the program that have made my final season a very special one.”

In the history of Purdue Athletics, only Larry LeBree’s 40-season run with men’s tennis from 1925 to 1964 ranks as a longer tenure among head coaches. Coincidentally, LeBree also coached swimming for 15 seasons at Purdue.

This season Ross ranked as the fifth-longest tenured active swimming & diving head coach working at the NCAA Division I level.

In the fall of 2021, the Daniel P. Ross Swimming & Diving Scholarship Endowment was established to aid future Boilermakers in their student-athlete experience. Program alumni Ross Croasdell, Larry Becker, and Dan Moll teamed up to form the endowment, opting to name it in honor of their coach.

Ross and wife Sally, a Big Ten champion swimmer in the 200 and 400 individual medley for Purdue in 1980, raised their three sons – Eric, Matt and Andy – in West Lafayette. All three boys grew up around Lambert Pool and the Burke Aquatic Center. They all went on to swim collegiately. Eric, Matt and Andy were all on hand in Ann Arbor last month so as not to miss what could have been their father’s final time coaching the Boilermakers at the Big Ten Championships. Emotions were on display throughout Purdue’s portion of the deck during the Saturday evening finals session to wrap up the meet.

• Larry LaBree, Men’s Tennis – 40 Seasons (1925-64, also coached swimming for 15 seasons)
• Dan Ross, Men’s Swimming & Diving – 38 Seasons (1986-2023)
• Dave Rankin, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field – 36 Seasons (1946-81)
• Dick Papenguth, Men’s Swimming & Diving – 31 Seasons (1939-69)
• Claude Reeck, Wrestling – 31 Seasons (1938-69)
• Ward “Piggy” Lambert, Men’s Basketball – 29 Seasons (1917, 1919-46; also coached baseball for 20 seasons)
• Mike Poehlein, Cross Country/Track & Field – 29 Seasons (1973-2001)
• Gene Keady, Men’s Basketball – 25 Seasons (1981-2005)
• Sam Voinhoff, Men’s Golf – 25 Seasons (1945, 1951-74)
• Devon Brouse, Golf – 25 Seasons (1998-2002)
• Cathy Wright-Eger, Women’s Swimming & Diving – 21 Seasons (1988-2008)
• Carol Dewey, Volleyball – 20 Seasons (1975-94)
• Dave Shondell, Volleyball – 20 Seasons (2003-Present)

As of March 1, 2023
• Eddie Reese, Texas – 45th Season
• Pete Hovland, Oakland – 44th Season
• Nick Cavataro, Iona – 41st Season
• James Bolster, Columbia – 39th Season
• Dan Ross, Purdue – 38th Season
• Shari Skabelund, BYU – 36th Season

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pete kennedy
2 months ago

Dan always the gentleman, always the competitor, honest beyond reproach, a credit to the swim coaching profession -a hard act for anyone to follow.

Lee Littlewood Spitser
2 months ago

Congrats to Dan and Sally, who I swam with in high school and a bit at Purdue in the very early 80s. That seems a lifetime ago!

Former Gator
2 months ago

Steve Jungbluth ring ring…

Reply to  Former Gator
2 months ago

He seemed to have a great relationship with navy and it looks like rich macdonald will need a job, works out well!

2 months ago

They should be the first D1 program to have the diving coach be the head coach

Old Swim Coach
2 months ago

This is a fantastic job opening!

Titanium Spine
2 months ago

Coach Dan is an incredible man, to his swimmers and his family. Where most programs teach you to be better swimmers, he teaches us to be better people. Coach Dan Ross is the greatest Boilermaker!

2 months ago

Headlines for tomorrow:

Coley Sticks announces new pro group in West Lafayette, to replace Dan Ross

Reply to  Andrew
2 months ago

Don’t you put that evil on us Ricky Bobby.

B Rad
2 months ago

Congrats to Dan. One of the best. Such a huge piece of Boilermaker history.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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