May 24, 2012
STANFORD, Calif.-- Stanford Swimming will have a seamless transition when Ted Knapp assumes the head coaching duties for the men's swimming and diving program starting in July.
Knapp, who has spent the last 28 years as an assistant under Skip Kenney, will be named the Goldman Family Director of Men's Swimming and Diving after Kenney retires following 33 years of service.
“This place has really been my whole life, since the Fall of 1977, except for two years in Houston, this is where I have been. This is my heritage,” said Knapp. “It's thrilling. I have goose bumps and it was a pretty emotional time when Earl Koberlein asked me to be the coach. I can't imagine a more incredible feeling.”
Knapp swam for Kenney as a junior and senior, and returned to the team as a volunteer assistant in 1984-85, in time for the first of three-straight NCAA titles. Knapp would serve as a volunteer assistant until 1988-89, when he was promoted to full-time.
“Though our relationship has changed from coach to friend, his dedication to Stanford has never wavered. Ted goes beyond the X's and O's of our sport. I know we would not have won as many championships, if it was not for the keen mind of Ted Knapp,” said Kenney. “He is one of the most organized individuals that I have ever known.”
Knapp has been a part of 28 consecutive conference titles, a record established by Kenney, and going back a Pac-12 record 31-straight years. During that time Stanford has won seven of its eight NCAA titles (1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998) and never finished lower than fourth at the NCAA meet. No other program has been that good for that long. Stanford has also been an NCAA runner-up another seven times.
“We are thrilled to have Ted take over the leadership of our men’s swimming and diving program,” said senior associate athletics director and swimming administrator Earl Koberlein. “Ted has had a major role in Stanford’s extraordinary success for over 28 years as an assistant coach and associate head coach. Ted has a passion for the sport, is a man of integrity, has been loyal to Stanford, understands recruiting to Stanford and values the combination of academic and athletic excellence that Stanford offers.”
In the spring of 2011, Knapp was named the inaugural winner of the national assistant coach of the year. Said collegeswimming.com, “Nearly every member of the selection committee named both men (Knapp and the late Joe Hendee) on their ballot and it was acknowledged that both men served as perfect compliments to their longtime colleague, friend, and “boss.”
“Skip has always understood the student-athlete and team chemistry and that's why we have been so successful,” said Knapp. “There will be similarities, but I have my own personality, my own character. My role as an assistant coach, was to be there for the athletes. I hope to maintain that and even grow it. No doubt we were successful for many reasons. It's a bedrock to build from and we will never rest on our laurels.”
“As a recruit, he took interest in me as a person as well as a swimmer. For me and for every recruit that has visited Stanford, Ted has found a way to show what Stanford has to offer both academically and athletically,” said senior captain David Mosko in 2011. “Once we come to Stanford, Ted helps to make sure we are finding our niches and helps us work toward our goals. He challenges us with new ideas about training and technique, talks to us about our dorms and classes, and generally helps us with our transition into college life.”
Prior to this year's Olympics, Knapp had coached 19 Olympians from eight countries. That list has included three-time gold medalists Pablo Morales and Jeff Rouse, two-time silver medalist Markus Rogan, who is slated to swim in his third Olympics in 2012, and 2008 gold medalist Ben Wildman-Tobriner. He has also coached 27 swimmer to 67 NCAA individual titles. Ten different swimmers have set 20 world records.
One of those world record holders, Paul Kornfeld said this on his website about Kenney and Knapp, “(They) instilled in me life-long character traits, motivated me, empowered me, preached team-first attitude, and turned me into a NCAA Champion.”
Knapp swam for Kenney his final two seasons as a collegian in 1979-80 and 1980-81, earning All-America honors following an 11th place finish in the 400 medley relay in 1980. He was also a part of the Olympic Trials in 1980. The four-year letterman and 1980-81 team captain earned a degree in civil engineering in 1981.
Knapp has also been involved the the U.S. National program for two decades, serving as the head men's manager at the 2008 Olympics and 1998 Goodwill Games. He was also the assistant manager at the 2007 at the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
Knapp and his wife Laurie, reside in Menlo Park. His daughter Ellen is a graduate of Santa Clara University and his son, Sam, is Stanford Class of 2013, and a member of the Stanford football team.