2017 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee
University of Miami and Hurricane Swim Club
Charlie Hodgson is one of the greatest contributors to the University of Miami (FL) swimming programs. His on-deck coaching with UM stretched from 1973-1986. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in April of 2016 and of the eleven swimmers who were inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame before him, Coach Hodgson was instrumental in training nine of the eleven. Besides coaching the University of Miami, he coached the Hurricane Swim Club at the same time from 1973-1992, becoming head coach in 1975.
Over the course of 13 years at the UM pool, Coach Hodgson was responsible for 17 individual and relay National Collegiate titles and 3 individual AAU and USS National titles. Coach Hodgson oversaw the development of multiple elite athletes, including Matt Gribble, David Wilkie, Jesse Vassallo, and Michele Richardson. His leadership led these swimmers to World titles, NCAA titles, World Records, and Olympic teams (one gold medal and two silver medals). Among a litany of other achievements, as Assistant Coach in 1975 and Head Coach in 1976, the women’s team won back to back AIAW National Championships.
Coach Hodgson personally coached David Wilkie from 1973-1976 and in 1974 changed his breaststroke arm technique to a wide arm pull from the traditional narrow pull. With this new stroke, David broke the world record for the 200 meter breaststroke by 3.1 seconds at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. This was the only event in which the US men did not win a gold medal. Soon after, the wide arm stroke was adopted by nearly everyone and is still the basic style today.
In 1983, Matt Gribble set the world record in the 100 meter butterfly after having been trained by Coach Hodgson since 1975 when Matt was 12. In 1984, Matt Gribble, Jesse Vassallo, and Michele Richardson, each of whom started with Coach Hodgson as young age groupers on his Hurricane Swim Club, made the USA Olympic team which in turn propelled Coach Hodgson to being selected as a 1984 USA Olympic Coach. It is to be noted that Michele, just turning 15, was the youngest athlete on the entire US Olympic team for all sports, and she won the silver medal in the 800 meter free. In 1985, Coach Hodgson was selected as a coach for the US Pan Pacific Team. On that trip to Japan, another of Coach Hodgson’s Hurricane Swim Club age group swimmers, Paul Wallace, was a member of the USA’s world record setting 400 meter free relay.
In the prime years of the Hurricane Swim Club in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the team finished in the top 10 at Nationals several times with the highest finish being fifth. The Hurricane Swim Club also won the Women’s Junior Nationals twice and won the short course and the long course Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships for 10 years in a row.
After having retired from coaching in 1992, Coach Hodgson got involved again in 2002 due to his son Dakota’s promising swimming ability. Coach Hodgson coached age groupers for Excel Aquatics for two years, and then he and Dakota moved on to the Nashville Aquatic Club for 12 years. At NAC, Coach Hodgson assisted Coach John Morse with the senior group and guided Dakota to 3 Olympic Trials from 2008-2016, most notably with a sixth place finish in the 2012 Trials in the 200 meter butterfly.
Over the years, Coach Hodgson took many leadership positions to promote and improve the sport of swimming. He was chairman of the Association for Intercollegiate Activities for Women (AIAW) for two years, chairman of the Florida Gold Coast LSC for 9 of his 17 years on the committee, and three years on the Olympic International Committee for US Swimming.
Outside of coaching, Charlie Hodgson put his creative software engineering skills to work for Hy-Tek Sports Software. As sole designer and code writer for five software products, Charlie had a profound impact on coaches, swim teams, and meets in the sports of both Swimming and Track & Field. In 1989, he released Business Manager which soon thereafter was used by over 1000 swim teams to manager their invoicing and accounting. In 1990, Charlie released Swimming Work Manager, a creative way for coaches to design and manage workouts without scribbling on paper. At its peak, over 1200 coaches were using Workout Manager and it is the model today for similar products. In 1999, he released Windows Swim Meet Manager and today it is the primary software used to run swim meets in North America and many parts of the world. For USA Swimming in 2009, Charlie developed the Power Point System used in the IMX and Virtual Club Championships programs. In the sport of Track & Field, Charlie has had a similar impact with his 1992 T&F Meet Manager (converted to windows in 2001) which shortened the time to run track meets by nearly 50%. After 27 years, in June of 2016, Charlie retired from Hy-Tek Sports Software.
A 1969 graduate of Dartmouth college earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Engineering Science, Hodgson lettered 3 times in swimming for the Big Green (1966-68). In 1970, he earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth college. During the summers of 1969 and 1970, Hodgson got a taste of coaching swimming which led to his leaving in the middle of his master’s degree to become a swim coach. At this time, his ROTC obligation as an Engineer Corp lieutenant landed him a position in Washington, D.C. where he was able to volunteer coach during off duty hours from the fall of 1971 to the spring of 1973 for the Stafford Sea Devils, an inner-city team.
Coach Hodgson currently lives in the Brentwood area of Nashville with his wife Amy of 39 years. He and Amy have two children, Tara and Dakota, and two grandchildren, Maxx and Bayylor.