Renowned Indiana University alum David Tanner died on Thursday at the age of 70 after a bout with lymphoma.
Tanner, a native of Danville, Ill., was recruited by legendary coach Doc Counsilman to attend IU in 1968, and he would go on to be ingrained in the Bloomington community throughout his life.
“His teammates universally perceived Dave as the glue that bound thirty-some years of the Counsilman-era swimmers together,” wrote Dr. Joel Stager, who worked with Tanner in Indiana’s Department of Kinesiology, in an IU press release. “He became the team archivist, the Counsilman historian, the event planner, and the perpetuator of all things Counsilman. Perhaps most importantly to him, he became a devoted friend, affectionate caregiver and valued confidante to both Doc, Marge and the Counsilman family.
After graduating from Indiana, Tanner got his coaching career started by taking a position in Spain, and he would end up returning to Bloomington where he coached the Bloomington High School North swimming program for over two decades.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of longtime BHSN Swim Coach, Dave Tanner. We celebrate his life and legacy that will forever live on in the culture of our swim programs. Thank you Dave! pic.twitter.com/EAOGrH5yAH
— BHSN Athletics (@BHSNathletics) May 7, 2020
Tanner went on to hold multiple State and National Masters Records, and completed several endurance challenges including the Western States 100, the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, the Swim Around Manhattan, and the Race Across America.
He was also very passionate about academics, holding degrees from IU in mathematics, computer science, physics, exercise physiology, and human performance. Acting as a professor at Indiana in exercise science and kinesiology, Tanner also co-authored two books on the science of swimming.
“Perhaps most impressively, he mentored and was instrumental in assisting more than a dozen doctoral candidates complete their terminal degrees,” wrote Stager. “Scholars from around the world recognized his expertise and his invaluable help in getting them through their difficult research projects. Some tried to hire him away from IU with no success. His loyalty to IU was boundless.”
“Dave Tanner was one of our most beloved swimming and diving alums,” said current IU head coach Ray Looze. “Indiana University swimmer, coach, professor, caretaker of both Marge and Doc, and historian of all things IU swimming. He is irreplaceable and will forever be missed.”