Former University of Wisconsin Head Coach and BAC Senior Coach Jack Pettinger died on Tuesday. He was 79 years old.
Jack started the Badger Dolphins in the 70's and hired Drew as the Head Age Group Coach in 1987 (Drew swam for Jack during his college days). Jack played an important role in three local Madison swim clubs merging into BAC in 1999. He was the CEO and Head Coach for BAC from 2004 until he retired in 2012. He stayed on after that, continuing his BAC masters and triathlon group. Jack was always a presence in the swimming community.
Jack was the Head Coach of the Badgers Men's team from 1969-1994, where he led a team that scored at the NCAA Championships 17 times, including a high of 14th place in 1970. His 233 career dual-meet wins at Wisconsin are the most of any Men's Head Coach in the program's 107-year history by a factor of almost 3. He was named the Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year in 1992.
Jack also spent the 1973-1974 season as the first coach in the history of the Wisconsin Women's Swimming program. Jack spent time as an assistant coach under the legendary Doc Counsilman at Indiana from 1964-1969, where he worked with Mark Spitz and Gary Hall, among other legends of swimming. Jack is associated with a number of high-profile figures in American swimming. He swam at Michigan from 1958-1961 for Gus Stager, where he was a roommate of Jon Urbanchek, USA Swimming's National Team Technical Advisor. During his time at Wisconsin, he coached Mike Unger, the current Assistant Executive Director of USA Swimming.
"Jack was the ultimate coach" Unger said of his former mentor. "He had a VERY tough exterior, and a huge heart. He cared for his swimmers as if they were his own kids and was as principled as they come."
The list of swimmers that he coached is long and includes 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Record holder Jim Montgomery, as well as Brad Horner, Robert Pinter, Jack Young, Valter Kalaus, and Jack Collins.
His coaching tree includes current Purdue head coach Dan Ross, ASCA Hall of Fame coach Bob Groseth, Drew Walden, Robert Pinter, Kristy Brager, Jesse Stipek, Blaine Carlson, and Jennah Haney.
Jack also served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps after finishing his education at Michigan.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, Wisconsin, followed by a final team picnic at Cress. Attire is casual - shorts and sneakers.
BAC will hosting some 'Memorial Swim Practices' at Shorewood for anyone who wants to swim some laps in honor of Jack. Nice and loosey goosey. Practices will be held (LCM of course) both Saturday and Sunday AM from 5:30-6:30. Apologies to Jack that we aren't starting at 5. Feel free to stop by for a swim or to just say hello!
INTERESTED IN JOINING BAC THIS FALL? We'll have more info (schedules, fees, etc.) on the web in late July. In the meantime feel free to email Coach Jacob Johnson (email@example.com) with any questions!
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