Yutaka Terao Character in Coaching Award


Yutaka Terao was the first president of the World Swimming Coaches Association.  He cared for athletes, coaches, friends and the sport of swimming in a way that will always be remembered.  This award perpetuates his name and its recipients exemplify his caring attitude.  He died in Fort Lauderdale on May 13, 2001.  This award is presented in his memory to represent the enthusiasm, high spirit, leadership skills, sharing of knowledge and goodwill personified by others in their coaching endeavors.

Presenting the 2003
  Yutaka Terao Award winner...


Although they lived oceans apart, Don Gambril and Yutaka Terao were very good friends. Don would welcome Yutaka during his many trips from Japan to the United States with contingents of Japanese swimming coaches looking to observe and learn from established swimming clubs in the country. Don’s leadership style of character and example embraced Yutaka’s style of doing for others to help others.

After spending two years in the U. S. Navy, Don started coaching swimmers in 1958. For the next 35 years he coached on every level imaginable, winning high honors for his swimmers, his teams, his country and himself.

Don started coaching at the high school level and spent his first seven years at Rosemead High (CA) (1958-1963) and Arcadia High (CA) (1963-1965). He taught social studies and physical education. During the next six years he coached and taught physical education at Pasadena City College (1965-1967) and Long Beach State University (1967-1971). All the while he was building a powerhouse AAU club team at City of Commerce and then Phillips 66 Long Beach. His swimmers included Hall of Famer Sharon Stouder, Gunnar Larson, Patty Caretto and more. His swimmers won National Championships and Olympic gold medals.

In 1971, Don moved across country to become Harvard University swimming coach for two years before settling in at the University of Alabama in 1973, where he coached until his university retirement in 1996. At Alabama he was 17 years Head Men’s Swimming Coach and 10 years Head Women’s Swimming Coach. In 1990, he retired from coaching to become Assistant Athletic Director responsible for all men’s sports with the exception of football and basketball and all women’s sports except gymnastics, 15 in all. His own swimmer, Hall of Famer Jonty Skinner, succeeded him on the pool deck. All totaled in college/university competition, Don compiled a 350-60 win/loss record. His teams achieved 15 top-ten NCAA finishes with a highest place of second in 1977.

Don’s swimmers won five National Team Championships and combined, broke 20 world records, earning 14 Olympic gold medals. He was named the Assistant Olympic U.S. Swimming Coach in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980 and Olympic Head Coach to the successful 1984 Team. He was Assistant World Championship Coach in 1978 and World Championship Head Coach in 1991 at Perth, Australia. He was also Head Coach of the 1983 Pan-American Games, 1977 World Student Games, 1977 and 1981 Macabian Games, 1989 Pan Pacific Games, 1990 Goodwill Games and 1966, 1989 USA vs. Russia Dual Meets. All totaled, he coached 18 U.S. National Teams.

But it was Don’s home-town type of personality that drew Yutaka and him together. This was seen in every clinic and lecture he gave. A much sought after speaker and clinician, he has traveled to 54 countries and all but one of the 50 states since 1963. He is the author of Swimming (1968), Swimmer and Coach (1982), Alabama Swimming Practice (1984), Winning Season (1985) and Tide Team Work (1989). He has made swimming stroke and training videos: Classic Series (1976-1978) and Gold Medal Series (1984).

Don has served on the U.S. Swimming Steering and Rules Committees and Board of Directors. He has served on the NCAA Peer Reviews and Rules Committees. He was 20 years on the American Swimming Coaches Association Board of Directors and served as President and Vice President. Gambril has developed numerous successful swimmers and teams over the years. Importantly, he has shared his ideas so that others may also succeed.


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