Now in his sixth season as head coach of the University of South Carolina swimming and diving program, Don Gibb continues to build and mold a talented team that succeeds both in the pool and in the classroom.
Committed to making USC a competitive and deep program, Gibb continues to bring some of the finest athletes in the world to Columbia. This summer USC had five current or former Gamecock swimmers coached by Gibb in Athens, Greece for the 2004 Olympics.
Despite being unranked the entire season in the national polls, South Carolina went on to prove that they would rise to the occasion when it counted most.
The 2003-04 season was the best yet under Coach Gibb as both the men's and women's squads finished in the Top 20 at the NCAA Championships including an 11th place finish by the women's squad, second highest in school history.
Carolina owns four Top 20 finishes in the last five seasons in the men's swimming and diving program. Last season the women's swimming and diving team also recorded its highest finish in school history at the SEC Championships, earning fifth place. In addition, the USC women's swimming and diving team broke six school records, including four relays at the SEC Championships.
Last year also was highlighted by several Gamecocks who made their mark at the NCAA's and at the national level under coach Gibb. Senior Jennifer VanAssen finished up her career at USC with two runner-up performances at the NCAA Championships in the 100 & 200 meter freestyle as well as earning a spot at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Senior Istvan Bathazi also closed up a stellar career at Carolina as a fifth place finisher in the 400 IM and earning a spot on the 2004 Hungarian Olympic Team. Istvan Bathazi wasn't the only USC swimmer to compete in the Olympics though as his brother Tamas Bathazi also competed in his first Olympiad with Hungary following a successful sophomore season at USC.
Under Gibb, the Gamecock swimmers have flourished and made improvements time and time again. Former athlete Zsolt Gaspar holds five school records, and was the 2001 SEC champion in the 50 free and 2000 SEC champion in the 100 butterfly. Former USC swimmer Tamas Szucs also won a championship at the SEC level in the 200 free.
Gibb, who developed Florida State University into a national power, where he was twice selected Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, coached three NCAA champions, an Olympic finalist and more than 20 All-Americans as the Head Coach. Gibb was named the new head coach at the University of South Carolina on March 22, 1999.
"Among the reasons I came here were Dr. McGee's leadership, being a member of the premier swimming conference in America (SEC), and the challenge of making USC a consistent competitor at the NCAA level," said Coach Gibb.
The ACC Coach of the Year in 1995 and again in 1998, Gibb coached four Seminoles who were chosen ACC Swimmers-of-the-Year. His FSU teams broke more than 50 school records and claimed nearly 40 individual ACC championships. Among those ACC individual championships were both Frank Bradley and Matt McVittie, current assistant coaches for the Gamecocks.
Taking over a Seminole program in 1994 that was unranked and near the bottom of the ACC standings, Gibb led the Seminoles to four straight top 25 finishes, including a top 10 finish in 1997. His ability to turn that program around caught the eye of USC Athletics Director Mike McGee.
Before becoming the head coach at Florida State, Gibb spent five years as an assistant at the University of Florida. While in Gainesville, he had the opportunity to learn from some of the world's best coaches in Randy Reese, Skip Foster and Mitch Ivey. During his five year stint, they continued their winning ways garnering championship performances at the SEC, NCAA and International level.
Gibb left Florida in 1992 to become an assistant at Florida State, and was promoted to head coach two years later.
Gibb brings a wealth of SEC swimming experience as a coach and as an athlete to South Carolina. He was a five-time All-America selection at the University of Florida and was an SEC and an NCAA champion in 1983. He was ranked among the top 25 in the world in the 100 meter freestyle in 1982 and 1983 and was a member of the Gator 400 meter freestyle relay squad that shared the American record in 1983. Gibb also led the Gators to the 1983 SEC Championship and the NCAA Team Championship that same year.
As a high school swimmer at J.M. Tate High in Gonzalez, Fla., Gibb was a four year letterman and was the state runner up in the 100 yard freestyle in 1979.
Gibb, 43, graduated from the University of Florida in 1985 with a degree in Psychology. His inspirations are Jesus Christ, his mother, his wife Gena and Ralph Crocker and all his swimmers past and present. He enjoys fly fishing, golf, and spending time with his family as his hobbies.
Gibb and his wife, Gena, who was a member of the 1981 NJCAA National Swimming Team Champions at Daytona Beach Community College, have three daughters, Sarah (14), Emily (8) and Hannah (5).
The Don Gibb File
Born: September 29, 1961 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
High School Education: J.M. Tate (Gonzalez, FL), 1979.
College Education: Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Florida, 1985.
High School Swimming: Four-year swimming letterman; 1979 state runner-up in 100 meter freestyle.
College Swimming: Five-time All-American; SEC Champion, 100 freestyle; 1983 SEC and NCAA Team Champions.
Coaching Career: Head Coach, University of South Carolina, 1999-; Head Coach, Florida State University, 1994-1999; Assistant Coach, University of Florida, 1987-1992; Assistant Coach, Florida State University, 1992-1994.