University of Connecticut head coach Bob Goldberg is entering his 25th season as the head coach of the men's and women's swimming and diving programs.
While it is normal to think that coaching the past 24 years at UConn and more than 40 years overall may diminish some of the excitement and energy of Goldberg... just the opposite happens to be true.
The energy and excitement for this team, the school and this sport is as high as it has ever been within the coach and there are high hopes and expectations for this upcoming season.
Goldberg believes it is the unique way in which he approaches his job that helps him maintain his enthusiasm.
"I have never felt that I simply coach swimming," says Goldberg. "I feel that I am fortunate to coach a bunch of great student-athletes every year who happen to be swimmers, and help them get through their years in college successfully in the pool, in the classroom and along their road in life."
There are several philosophies and principles that are inherent to the basic foundations on which the UConn program has been run under Goldberg.
First is the matter of consistency: "In whatever we do, I believe that maintaining a consistent work ethic is fundamental to success. Whether it is in the pool, classroom or in life's social relationships, being consistent in what you do and how you do it most often leads to being productive, and when you are productive that ultimately leads you to success."
Goldberg's teams have been consistent winners for a long period of time in all phases at UConn. The team has had a winning record in the pool every year since the 1988-89 season as well as always one of the schools highest team GPAs and yearly recognition by the College Coaches Association as an All-Academic Team every year Goldberg has been at UConn.
Second is the issue of focus: "I am constantly reminding the team to focus on their swimming when in the pool and on their school work when hitting the books. Don't worry about an exam in the middle of practice time and in the middle of a tough set, and don't dream about your best swims when you are in class or studying," says Goldberg. "Do one thing at a time and do it really well."
A third and very important aspect is loyalty and commitment: "Being loyal and supportive to your teammates, team, coaches, families and university helps keep us grounded in good principles. It helps us maintain a proper perspective and a total commitment to what we are doing every day in our lives."
Lastly, understand respect in a student's role as a member of a swimming and academic community. "Be respectful to coaches, teachers, classmates, teammates and all you come in contact with. Approaching all the things we do every day with an understanding and respect for all those who have come before us, those who will come after us, and all those we deal with every day. This will result in an atmosphere that will give our swimmers their best chance for success."
Academic success has been a cornerstone of Goldberg's teams. The women's teams have been recognized every year by the College Swim Coaches for their academic record of excellence never having a team GPA fall below 3.0 in 24 years under Goldberg.
The men have now risen to that level also. In the spring of 2012 the UConn men were ranked 13th in the country in team GPA, nearing a 3.3 team average overall!
"We are always talking with the team about the importance of our team `study groups', team academic goals, working to have our successful upperclassmen to be involved with the freshmen as peer advisors, and we are fortunate to have developed a great relationship with our swimming advisor from the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes,"says Goldberg. "That has developed a tradition and expectation of quality academic performance for both our teams."
Athletic success has also been inherent in the program under Goldberg. "There are no records on our record board that are old records," says Goldberg. "It seems every year we swim faster and faster, and wonder how those records can ever be broken, but then the next year we come back and break a whole bunch of those same records and start all over again! Certainly technology, recruiting, training and facilities play a role in what we do, but the real reality is that we have great assistant coaches that work really hard, and a great group of athletes with a lot of potential that we have recruited to be here. In my mind that is a winning combination, and a combination that brings success."
Goldberg has spent his entire professional life in aquatics. "Growing up in a YMCA and being in the pool open every day, working my way up as a lifeguard, camp counselor, swim instructor and team member and coach had set the career path for me very early on," says Goldberg. "Then a great high school experience with Coach Al Huston, followed by a great college experience with renowned Coach Charles Silvia and Coach Charlie Smith, all icons in the sport, all became great personal mentors to me. Fifteen years coaching at Penn State, three years as Aquatic Director at NC State and now 24 years completed as head coach at UConn have defined my career. There are few phases of aquatics that I have not been involved with, from Scuba to Synchro, from Diving to Learn to Swim, from Sailing to building Olympic sized pools, I have seen, done and been involved in it all. It has been a great experience, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunities to be involved with so many great people as peers, mentors and as athletes. Clearly to me, while swimming has been the venue, it is the people who have been part of it that has made it a rewarding career!"
While there has been a lot that has been done, Goldberg feels there is still much to accomplish at UConn, a great university that is entering into a new phase with a new athletic administration, great athletic and academic facilities and progressive central administration.
"I want to continue to field a team that can represent the university on a national and international level in swimming and continue to bring credit to our program," says Goldberg. "We work hard to recruit the best students and best athletes we can find who can help us continue to build our program. With continued strong support from our university we can strive to become a major player in our sport."
Goldberg is originally from Watertown, Mass., and graduated from Springfield College and then went on to receive a master's degree from Penn State. His professional work experience includes high school teaching and coaching, 15 years coaching at Penn State along with a tenured faculty appointment in physical education, three years as Director of Aquatics and teaching faculty at North Carolina State University.
He is married to Alyce (Parrish) Goldberg and they have three married children; David living in Austin Texas, Scott living in Cincinnati Ohio and Sarah living in Connecticut. They have six grandchildren; Vanessa, Victoria, Zachary, Keeley, Fisher and newly arrived Charlie.