The Florida Gators have been among the greatest programs in collegiate swimming for much of the last two decades, churning out Olympic competitors and competing for national championships.
Now, the man responsible for shaping that program is stepping down from collegiate coaching.
Gregg Troy, who has helmed Florida’s swimming and diving program since 1998, announced his retirement from the Gators in a Wednesday afternoon release.
“I’ve been fortunate to spend 20 years here at the University of Florida, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to coach so many remarkable and talented Gator athletes,” Troy said. “I’ve experienced countless memorable moments here at Florida, and it’s now time for me to step away from collegiate swimming.
”Moving forward, I plan to help individuals meet their goals at the 2020 Olympics as the high performance coach for Gator Swim Club with Robert Pinter.”
That shift from collegiate coaching to private preparation of elite swimmers with the Gainesville-based Gator Swim Club assuredly means that Troy will continue to be around the University of Florida and more than a few great Gators swimmers. But while that likely means Troy will continue tutoring Caeleb Dressel and should help prep Ryan Lochte with an eye on the 2020 Olympics, it also means one of the longest-tenured coaches in Florida history will no longer be stewarding a program he helped return to prominence.
Claiming Troy “rescued” Florida’s swimming program may be a bit hyperbolic, unless mediocrity is a plight to be rescued from. But his coaching and leadership turned a once-proud program into a point of pride again, and his tutelage of-Elizabeth Beisel, Lochte, Dressel, and dozens of other Olympians who passed through his program minted elite international competitors and made Florida formidable in the water.
Troy’s Gators captured just one team national championship — the 2010 crown his women purloined from dynastic programs at Stanford and Cal — but Florida’s men’s program is on a six-year streak of capturing SEC titles after a long period of dominance by Auburn, and Florida’s women’s program has hung tough in a conference with historically strong Auburn and Georgia outfits. Troy’s swimmers collected 43 individual NCAA titles and a staggering 1,145 All-America honors, a towering testament to his ability to get the most out of his athletes.
And those 2010 women spat in the face of history to win it all. Florida’s two national titles in women’s swimming came 32 years apart; the longest time any other school has gone between titles in a dynastic sport in which every one of the five programs with four or more national championships has gone back-to-back at least once was 19 years.
Hired by Jeremy Foley in 1998 to coach the women’s team and installed as the leader of the men’s program a year later, Troy spent 20 years as a Florida head coach, putting him in rarefied air occupied by only eight other Florida coaches.
“Florida is a tremendous university for student-athletes, and it has been an outstanding experience for me,” Troy said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity given to me by Jeremy Foley and Scott Stricklin.
He leaves the Gators in far better shape than he found them, and with enormous shoes for Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin to fill.
“On behalf of the University of Florida and Gator Nation, I want to thank Gregg for the incredible job he has done here,” Stricklin said. “Gregg has represented UF in a first-class manner, and his track record of accomplishments speaks for itself.
”He helped uphold the tradition of excellence in Florida swimming and diving, and some of the world’s best athletes came to Gainesville to learn under his direction.”
“Moving forward, we will evaluate all available options and have a wide-ranging search to provide our swimming and diving teams the best opportunity for continued success,” Stricklin said.
For his part, it sounds like Troy will be happy to help his beloved program.
“Myself and my family will always be part of the Gator Nation, and I will help UF through this transition any way I can.”