Don Gambril (USA)
Honor Swimmer (1983)
FOR THE RECORD: 1984 U.S. Olympic Coach; Assistant U.S. Olympic Coach: 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980; Assistant Coach: 1978 World Championships; Coach of 1977 World University Games; Head coach at the University of Alabama beginning 1971; His career record from 1966-1982: 4 NAAU team championships; 1 NCAA College Division Championship; 4 times finished in the top 5 NCAA Championships; 178 wins and 22 losses in dual meets; 114 of his swimmers received All-American honors; His swimmers held at least 10 World Records.
The United States head Olympic swim coach for 1984 has served his apprenticeship on every level of swim coaching. Known throughout the world for his ability to work harmoniously with star swimmers and coaches alike, Don Gambril has been a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff five times in ’68, ’72, ’76, ’80 and ’84 following the great success of his swimmers in ’64. It was just after the Tokyo Olympics that he was named “Coach of the Year” by his 2,000 peers in the American Swim Coaches Association. 16 years later, he was elected the President of this largest swim coaching body in the world. Gambril has always paid his dues, serving as a member of the USOC, the AAU Men’s and Women’s Swim Committees, USS Board of Directors, NCAA Swimming Rules Committee. He has coached at City of Commerce, Pasadena City College, Philips 66 Long Beach, Long Beach State University and Harvard before coming to Alabama.
Among his famous swimmers are Hall of Famers Sharon Stouder (USA), and Gunnar Larsson (Sweden), who have won a total of 5 Olympic gold medals between them. He is also credited with developing Jonty Skinner, the supreme sprinter from South Africa who was denied the Olympics because of politics. The President of U.S. Swimming (Ross Wales) and the head coaches at Stanford (Skip Kenney), Arizona (Dick Jochums) and UCLA (Ron Ballatore) are among Don’s former swimmers and assistants who have hit the top along with Olympic team members from the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Germany, Brazil and ten other nations.