Friend of ISHOF and Former SMU Men’s Swimming Head Coach Eddie Sinnott passed away on Tuesday, February 20


by DAN D’ADDONA — SWIMMING WORLD MANAGING EDITOR

Former SMU Men’s Swimming Head Coach Eddie Sinnott passed away on Tuesday, February 20.

He was 70.

Sinnott ’76 led his alma mater from 1989-2019. After swimming at SMU from 1972-76 and earning All-America honors in 1973 and 1974, the 16-time conference Coach of the Year led the Mustangs to 16 league crowns, and under Sinnott, SMU recorded 11 NCAA top-15 finishes, 80 individual All-America honors and 59 relay honors and 288 conference championships.

“Coach Sinnott won tremendous accolades over the life of his career and was a huge influence on his swimmers,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “We’re proud that he began his journey as a student swimmer at SMU, and will long remember his support for the men and women he coached and mentored.”

In 2019, Sinnott was selected by his peers for the 2019 National Collegiate Scholastic Trophy. The trophy is presented annually by both the CSCAA and the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) to the coach who, in the estimation of the recipient’s peers, has made the greatest contribution to swimming as a competitive sport, and as a healthful, recreational activity in the province of undergraduate and scholastic education.

“It’s hard to put into words the impact Eddie Sinnott had on SMU,” said Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “This was a man who spent more than 30 years on the Hilltop, from his time as a student-athlete through his decades-long coaching career. Coach led the SMU team and its individual swimmers to incredible heights collegiately, domestically and on the international stage, but more than that, he shaped the lives of hundreds of men and women here at SMU and throughout the swimming community.

“He will be missed by so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and daughters and the many who loved Eddie.”

An accomplished coach on the international level, Sinnott coached 11 student-athletes since 1992 who competed in seven different Olympic Games. In 1996, Mustang great Ryan Berube won a gold medal as a team member of the U.S.A. 4×200 free relay team. In the summer of 2000, Lars Frolander became the fourth Mustang to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games, taking first in the 100 butterfly in Sydney, Australia. Under Sinnott, both Berube and Frolander were named NCAA Swimmer of the Year within two years of each other (Berube-1996, Frolander-1998).

“Eddie’s loss will not just be felt here in the SMU community, but throughout the USA swimming community as well,” stated SMU Head Men’s Swimming Coach Greg Rhodenbaugh. “Eddie coached me when I swam here at SMU, mentored me as I started my coaching career and was a friend and brother for the last 40 years. He will be missed greatly.”

Sinnott also served United States Swimming in various capacities. He was the team leader and the men’s head coach of the U.S. squad at the World University Games in 1993, and a head coach and assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Festival team in 1987 and 1993, respectively. Sinnott also served as the head coach of the U.S. National Team on its European Tour in 1987. At the 2008 Olympics, Sinnott was the U.S. Olympic Team assistant manager. In addition to coaching for the United States, Sinnott served on the Olympic International Organizing Committee from 1984-92. He was the head coach for Haiti at the 1996 Olympic Games. He also served as the assistant coach for Colombia, Denmark and South Africa at the World Short Course Championships.

Sinnott’s impact on the sport, however, extends well beyond his conference titles, Olympic Gold Medalists, and All-Americans. Sinnott was instrumental in fundraising for the new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium. Beyond the college teams, Sinnott helped teach in the SMU swim lesson program for most of his 40 years on campus, and was a leader in the Dallas swimming community.

A four-year letterwinner at SMU from 1973-76, Sinnott was the SWC champion in the 400 IM in 1973. Born in Greenwich, Conn., Sinnott is survived by his wife, Sioux, and their two daughters K.C. and Silver Ann.

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