Head Men’s & Women’s Swimming Coach at North Carolina State University
Don Easterling began coaching at the Fort Worth Panther Boy’s Club and Burford Aquatic Club from 1952 to 1970. From 1966-70, he coached the University of Texas at Arlington to national prominence. Coach Easterling had four swimmers make the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1968, where Doug Russell and Ronnie Mills both made the Olympic Team. Doug Russell went on to overtake Mark Spitz in the last few meters of the 1968 100-meter butterfly final to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Leaving the University of Texas at Arlington Men’s team coming off a hot streak with the Mavericks earning runner-up at the NCAA Championships in 1969.
Coach Easterling was the NC State’s Men’s Swimming and Diving coach for 27 years, beginning in 1970. While at NC State, Easterling created a dynasty in the pool and a strong reputation both at the university and in the swimming community. He led the men’s team to 15 ACC Championship titles, with them winning 12 of the titles consecutively from 1971 to 1982.
Easterling started the NC State Women’s Swimming program in 1976. He led the women’s team to win back to back ACC titles in 1979 and 1980, coaching 40 athletes to earn All-American honors.
Besides his success in the NCAA, Don Easterling coached seven future Olympians (including five medalists) and four Pan American game medalists.
Don Easterling was named ACC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year in 1984 & 1992. He was also awarded for the women’s program in 1991. In 1993, Coach Easterling was named the National Collegiate Scholastic Swimming Coach of the Year. Following his retirement, he was inducted into the Texas Legends of Swimming in 1996.