Since David Marsh's return to his alma mater in 1990, he has guided Auburn to six men's and four women's NCAA crowns and a combined 15 Southeastern Conference titles, the likes of which had never been seen before on the Auburn campus. The ascent of his teams is teetering on legendary as this swimming and diving dynasty has become known across the land as the program that all others aspire to be.
During his 16-year reign at Auburn, Marsh's teams have earned a combined 1,312 All-America honors by 276 athletes, along with 40 NCAA individual championship titles and 25 NCAA relay crowns. At the conference level, Marsh has guided 178 individual SEC champions and 52 relay conference victories.
Internationally, 52 Auburn individuals have won medals in 90 events, including 27 during the summer of 2003. These competitions include World University Games, Goodwill Games, World Championships, Pan-American Games, Pan-Pacific Games and the Olympics. Among these elite individuals are Olympic gold medalists Scott Tucker, John Hargis and Bill Pilczuk, the World Champion in the 50 free, as well as, Maggie Bowen, who won the gold in the 2001 World Championships.
During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, a total of 12 Auburn swimmers competed, bringing home an AU record-tying five medals, including the first three Olympic medals by an Auburn female. Marsh-coached Kirsty Coventry won gold in the 200m back, silver in the 100m back and bronze in the 200m IM.
At last years World Championship, Marsh-coached swimmers captured three gold and silver medals at the World Championships as Kirsty Coventry swept the backstroke events and took silver in the 200m and 400m IM's. Mark Gangloff won gold on the 400 medley relay and silver in the 50m breast. In addition, three current and one former AU swimmer captured eight medals at the World University Games.
Since Marsh took over the Auburn program, the Plains have been home to 22 Olympians and the U.S. Olympic trials have had a very Auburn flavor to them, especially the last four (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004), when Auburn athletes such as Rada Owen, Pat Calhoun, Margaret Hoelzer, Mark Gangloff and Bryce Hunt advanced to the Olympic Games.
In addition to his swimmers earning places on international teams, Marsh himself has coached on numerous international squads, most recently serving as the assistant coach for the United States men's team at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, Canada. In 2003, Marsh was named the men's head coach for the 2003 World Championships held in Barcelona, Spain, as well as coach at the inaugural Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool. In 2003 he helped lead the United States team to defeat of the Australians in a duel meet between the world's national power-houses.
Marsh has also represented the United States as a men's team assistant coach at the 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney, Australian Olympic Games, a men's team assistant coach at the 1995 (Fukuoka, Japan) and 1999 (Sydney, Australia) Pan-Pacific Games, and as a women's team assistant coach at the 1994 World Championships (Rome, Italy).
On the collegiate front, Marsh did what no one thought was possible for the third time in 2006, sweeping the men's and women's NCAA crowns. Before the 2003 season, most thought it was unthinkable to have one coaching staff lead both a men's and women's program to titles in the same year. After March of 2004, no one doubted Marsh.
Over the course of his 16-year coaching career, Marsh has been named National Coach of the Year a total of eight times and the SEC Coach of the Year 13 times. For his outstanding work with the men's and women's squads, Marsh was named the 2003 National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy recipient. It was the second time in his career that he was so honored, also garnering the distinguished award in 1999. Marsh is the first to ever receive this prestigious award more than once.
Since becoming the head coach in 1990, the men's and women's teams have been successful in both the pool and classroom. Marsh took a diminished program and revitalized it with confidence, support, character and success. After winning the 1997 NCAA Championship, Marsh was truly moved by the accomplishments of his athletes and field that it was a victory for the hundreds of former Auburn swimmers and divers who had gone through the program.
In his first year as head coach at Auburn the Tiger men finished 20th at NCAA's and sixth at SEC's while the women finished 30th at NCAA's and fifth at SEC's. The following year the men moved up five places to 15th while the women soared up into the top-10 with an eighth-place finish. In 1997, Marsh and his staff and team brought to the Plains the most coveted prize at the collegiate level, the program's first-ever national title and in 2002, Marsh brought Auburn its first-ever women's title.
In 1999, the men's program not only won its second national title but made school history by winning three individual titles (Lionel Moreau, Aaron Ciarla and Dave Denniston) and four of the five relays.
Finishing second in the NCAA Championship in 2000, Marsh led the men to perhaps their most successful season ever up to that point. Auburn had what was considered one of the best Olympic trial meets in the nation with 20 current, future and former Auburn swimmers earning sports in the semifinals in 37 events.
During the 2002 season, Marsh helped lead the women's team to AU's first-ever women's NCAA title while earning the 2002 NCAA Women's Coach of the Year award. In 2001, Marsh was also awarded the honor of Coach of the Year due to the women finishing fourth, which had been the team's best finish to date.
For three years, Marsh coached Maggie Bowen to six individual NCAA titles (three 200 and 400 IM titles), an American, U.S. Open and NCAA record in the 200y IM and a World Championship crown in the 200m IM.
The 2003 campaign was a very special one for Marsh as he and the rest of the coaching staff became the first combined staff to lead both a men's and women's program to NCAA titles in the same season. The staff also pulled off the sweep at the conference level as the men's team won its seventh consecutive conference crown and the women's team captured the school's first SEC title. The teams produced 23 school records between the two squads.
The 2004 season was a record-breaking year for the AU men. At the conference meet the Tigers scored a SEC-record 1,008 points, the first team in SEC history to top the millennial barrier, thanks in no small part to 15 conference titles - 13 of which came in consecutive events.
After winning the double NCAA title in 2004, Marsh passed Alabama's famed football coach Bear Bryant for the most titles won by a coach at a school in the state of Alabama.
In 2005, Marsh led the men's team to its third consecutive NCAA title and fifth overall, as well as, a sweep of the SEC crowns for the third straight time. For his 15-year coaching effort and outstanding achievements, Marsh was honored by Auburn University on September 24, 2005, by being named the 2005 Walter Gilbert Award recipient the highest award for a former student-athlete.
As Marsh, 46, completed his 17h season in 2006, he continued to prove that the Auburn swimming and diving program is one of the premier programs in the country. For an unprecedented third time, Marsh coached the men and women's squads to a sweep of the national titles, and the men's team to a 10th straight SEC crown. For these remarkable achievements, Marsh was honored by the United States Sports Academy and was awarded its Distinguished Service award.
Marsh's coaching philosophy in many ways parallels the Auburn Creed by exemplifying an honest and complete effort to reach your God-given potential in your sport and in your studies. He believes in establishing patterns of success not only at the top levels of swimming, but also as a professional, a family member and a quality citizen.
A five-time All-American backstroker at Auburn, Marsh was the 1980 SEC backstroke champion and was ranked sixth in the world at the time. After earning a degree in Business Administration from Auburn in 1981, he remained at Auburn as an assistant coach. In 1985 he left to accept the head coach position of the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta, Ga. Three years later Marsh then moved west to coach the Las Vegas Gold Swim Team. During Marsh's tenure in Vegas, he led ten swimmers, including former teammate Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines, to the 1988 Olympic Trials and Melvin Stewart to his first American record in the 200 fly.
Under Marsh, Auburn swimmers have excelled at the national and international levels of competition and most importantly, in the classroom. According to Marsh, success in the pool is success out of the pool. In 16 seasons, 198 swimmers (99 men, 99 women) have been chosen to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and 43 have been named Academic All-Americans. In addition, 24 combined men and women's teams have been named CSCAA Academic All-American.
The swimming and diving team has had four Leah Rawls Atkins and eight Cliff Hare Award winners. These awards are the highest awards an Auburn student-athlete can receive. In 2004 and 2005, three AU swimmers and a diver have swept both awards (2004 - Becky Short, Caesar Garcia and 2005 - Jenni Anderson, BJ Jones). The 2006 Cliff Hare Award winner, Doug Van Wie, solidified the swimming & diving three-peat on the honor.
In 2000, swimmer Matt Busbee was named to the GTE Academic All-America first team and was the first Auburn swimmer to win the Walter Byers Award. During his tenure at Auburn, Busbee became the most decorated Auburn athlete in school history academically.
A native of Miami, Fla., Marsh is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary Society and the "Tiger Trail" of Auburn. He is active with Athletes in Action and a member of Covenant Church. He has also been inducted into the Southwest High School and Indian River Community College Halls of Fame and serves on the boards of the American Swimming Coaches Association as well as the Championship Performance Advisory Board.
A highly regarded speaker, Marsh has been asked on numerous occasions to speak at both local and national conventions, including the Swimming Coaches Association of America national convention. He has also authored articles for such publications as Swimming Technique and has provided commentary on a series of swimming technique videos.
Marsh is married to the former Kristin Burke who was a swimmer at California-Berkeley. She earned her masters degree in English Education at Auburn in March of 1995. The couple are proud parents of three children, Aaron (11), Alyssa (9) and Maddie (6).
NCAA Women's Coach of the Year: '01, '02, '03
NCAA Men's Coach of the Year: '94, '97, '99, '03, '03, '04
SEC Men's Coach of the Year: '92, '93, '97 (co-coach), '98, '99, '01, '03, '04 , '05, '06
SEC Women's Coach of the Year: '93 (co-coach), '02, '03
Knoxville News-Sentinel Men's Coach of the Year: '93, '95, '98, '99, '01, '03, '04 , '05
Knoxville News-Sentinel Women's Coach of the Year: '92, '93, '03
"Inside the Auburn Tigers" Coach of the Year: '93, '96, '97, '03, '04
Coached 1,312 All-Americans
Coached 40 NCAA Individual Titles
Coached 25 NCAA Relay Titles
Coached 178 Individual SEC Champions
Coached 52 SEC Relay Champions Internationally
Coached 52 athletes that won medals in 90 events
2004 Olympics had total of 12 Auburn Athletes Coached total of 22 Olympians
2006 United States Sports Academy Distinguished Service Award recipient
2005 Walter Gilbert Award recipient
2005 USA World Championships Assistant Men's Coach
2003 & 2005 USA Men's Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool Head Coach
2003 USA World Championship Head Coach
2000 USA Men's Olympic Team Assistant Coach
1999 USA Men's Pan-Pacific Team Assistant Coach
1996 USA Men's Olympic Team Assistant Coach
1995 USA Men's Pan-Pacific Team Head Coach
1994 USA World Championships Assistant Women's Coach
2003 & 1999 National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy
NCAA Finishes Under Marsh