June 10, 2009
AUBURN - Auburn men's and women's head swimming and diving coach Richard Quick, who was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor in December 2008, passed away Wednesday at the age of 66. One of the most recognizable names in the swimming and diving community, Quick was a six-time United States Olympic coach who directed 13 teams to NCAA titles, the most ever by a swimming coach.
Quick, who served as Auburn's head coach from 1978-82, took over the Tiger program for a second time in 2007. This past season, his sixth at Auburn, Quick's men's team captured the 2009 NCAA title.
"We are tremendously saddened by the passing of Richard Quick, who is one of the finest individuals that I've ever known," Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs said. "While he lost a valiant battle against a cruel disease, Richard was an inspiration to countless people who were touched by his steadfast faith and amazing courage in the face of tremendous adversity.
"Richard will be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of swimming, but more importantly, he will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and teacher," Jacobs said. "Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to the Quick family, his wife, June; children, Michael, Kathy, Tiffany and Benjamin; grandchildren, Blake and Emily; as well as our swimming and diving team and coaching staff."
While the head coach of both the men's and women's programs at Auburn from 1978-82, Quick built the foundation for where the program is today, leading both programs to a combined five top-10 finishes on the national level.
Along with his men's title in 2009, Quick captured seven NCAA titles at Stanford and five at Texas. Six times he was named the NCAA Coach of the Year, including this past season. Internationally, Quick was the head coach of the United States team at the 1988, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games and also served as an assistant at the 1984, `92, and 2004 Olympics.
"Richard's passing leaves a tremendous void, not only in the swimming community and the Auburn family, but to those individuals who he touched the most," Co-Head Coach Brett Hawke said. "It would be in Richard's greatest honor to not dwell on his loss, but to celebrate his life and the characteristics he embodied, which were his perseverance, compassion and his humanity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard's family during this extremely difficult time."
A member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Quick served as the head women's swimming and diving coach at Stanford for 17 seasons from 1988-2005. Prior to his arrival at Stanford, Quick led the Texas women to a then-unprecedented five straight NCAA titles (1984-88), a string he extended to six in a row in his first season at Stanford.
Quick also served as the men's head coach at Iowa State during the 1977-78 season and the women's head coach at Southern Methodist in 1976-77.
Quick earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education (1965) and a Master's degree in Physiology of Exercise (1977) from Southern Methodist.
He began his coaching career at Houston's Memorial High School (1965-71), guiding his team to six state championships before returning to SMU, where he served as an assistant coach on the men's side for four years (1971-75) before starting the SMU women's program in 1976.
Quick is survived by his wife June, and children, Michael, Kathy, Tiffany and Benjamin, and grandchildren, Blake and Emily.
Memorial service plans will be announced when they become available.