Men's Swimming & Diving
    Legendary USC Men's Swim Coach Peter Daland Dies

    Peter Daland
    Oct. 20, 2014

    Legendary longtime USC men's swimming head coach Peter Daland, who led the Trojans to nine NCAA team championships during his 35-year tenure, died on Monday morning (Oct. 20) in Thousand Oaks, Calif., of Alzheimer's disease. He was 93.

    Under Daland from 1958 through 1992, USC also placed second at the NCAA meet 11 times, won 17 league crowns and posted a 318-31-1 (.917) dual meet record. A six-time National Coach of the Year, his swimmers captured 93 NCAA and 155 Pac-10 individual and relay titles. USC went undefeated in dual meets in 20 of his seasons. His 1977 team is regarded as the finest collegiate swim team ever.

    Among the world class swimmers he coached were John Naber, winner of four Olympic golds and 10 NCAA titles; American record holders Dave Wharton and Mike O'Brien; and Olympic stars Roy Saari, Murray Rose, Jeff Float, Joe and Mike Bottom and Bruce and Steve Furniss.

    One of the most successful and respected collegiate and international swim coaches in history, Daland spent more than 45 years coaching at the club and college levels. He coached the U.S. men in the 1972 Olympics as they won nine gold medals (including seven by Mark Spitz) and the U.S. women in the 1964 Games as they captured six golds. He guided American teams to impressive victories against East Germany and the USSR in 1971 and at the World University Games in 1973.

    Daland also won 17 national AAU titles (15 men's at USC and two women's at the Los Angeles Athletic Club). USC finished first or second in the AAU meet a phenomenal 20 times in Daland's 35 years.

    "The world of swimming has lost one of its most progressive minds," said current USC swimming and diving head coach Dave Salo. "Personally, I have lost a great and close personal friend. Peter was instrumental in teaching me the championship process. He was about relationships and driving the process to championship performance through team work. As the current USC head coach, I have tried to carry on many of Peter's traditions. For instance, I spec out the championship meet the way Peter always did, I remind our athletes like Peter did how important timeliness is and we continue to foster an environment where our alumni are celebrated guests on our deck as they always were when Peter was coaching here."

     

     

    Said Naber: "The sport lost a great man, and I lost a dear friend. I shall always be grateful to Coach Daland for his ability to push me outside my comfort zone. He was a rarity in college coaching, because he was equally concerned with his team's academic and social growth as he was with his swimmers' athletic accomplishments. He knew every swimmer's name, academic major and the names of family members and girlfriends. Although many of his swimmers achieved international acclaim, he never altered his style to accommodate any one individual. When Coach Daland was on deck, the pool at USC held no stars, only squad members. He made it a point to address each swimmer by name at least once per workout. He wanted his swimmers to be self-reliant, responsible and as good as they could possibly be in all aspects of life. He often pushed his swimmers to try off events and he challenged his teams to live up to the standards set by prior teams. He brought a wealth of knowledge and understanding on how to get the most out of his teams, and his swimmers repaid him with great admiration, loyalty and respect."

    "Peter Daland was a giant," said Bruce Furniss, one of four Furniss brothers to swim at USC for Daland. "He was to swimming what John Wooden was to basketball. He cared deeply about you as a swimmer and as a person, and he did it in both a loving way and a strong parental way. He brought his East Coast pedigree and prestige to USC, and he proved to be the bridge between the sport's pioneer coaches and today's modern-era coaches. I am so glad I came to USC and swam for him. But maybe the best times we had were these past 10 or 15 years when we would get together, he would tell me about his life and we would laugh nostalgically about the good old days."

    There will be a private funeral service for Daland's immediate family. A public memorial service at USC will be announced at a future date.

    In lieu of flowers, Daland's family requests that donations be made to the Peter Daland Endowed Head Swimming Coach's Chair to endow the men's swimming head coach's position (c/o Ron Orr, USC Athletic Department, Heritage Hall, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-0602).

    Daland is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Ingrid, and five children (George, Roger, Peter Jr., Bonnie and Leslie) and eight grandchildren.

    Daland was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. The pool of USC's new Uytengsu Aquatics Center bears his name.

    He founded Swimming World magazine. In 2009, he authored "The History of Olympic Swimming, Volume I: 1896-1936."

    Originally from New York City, Daland was a 1948 graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. His first coaching job was at Rose Valley (Penn.), where he took the club swim team to eight consecutive Suburban League titles (1947-55). He founded and was the first head coach of the Suburban Swimming Club in Philadelphia (1950-55) and served as an assistant swim coach at Yale University from 1950-54.