Coach Earl Ellis

Earl Ellis
Earl Ellis
Earl Ellis
Earl Ellis
Earl Ellis

2011 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

University of Washington

    Coach Earl Ellis, who was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2004, spent 19 seasons as Washington’s head coach, retiring in 1998. During his tenure, Ellis coached 36 men’s All-Americans, 25 women’s All-Americans, seven Olympians (three medalists) and six national champions. He led the Husky men to a 215-45 dual-meet record while the women posted a 206-29-2 dual-meet mark under his direction. Ellis shares the distinction of having the longest tenure of any current coach on the UW staff with track and field assistant Ken Shannon.

    “One cannot think of the sport of swimming in the Pacific Northwest without thinking of Earl Ellis, who built a strong tradition at Washington and in the Northern Division of the Pacific-10 Conference,” Hedges said. “Earl has been a great influence to hundreds of young people throughout his time at UW. He exemplifies the Husky spirit.”

    Coach Ellis trained seven Olympians, three of whom were medalists, and six national champions. Coach Ellis also guided junior school record holder Addy Elsner to her third straight trip to the NCAA Championships, where she competed in the 200 IM and the 100 and 200 backstrokes and helped Brent Nordyke qualify for NCAAs for the second time in 1997 in the 200 and 400 IM and the 200 breaststroke. He was recognized as the Pacific-10 Women’s Coach of the Year for his efforts during the 1992-93 season. The women’s team posted a 13-2 record that year and finished seventh in the Pac-10 Championships.

    Coach Ellis began his coaching career in 1960 at Highline High School in Burien, Washington. In 1963, he took over the head coaching responsibilities at the Triton Swim Club, where he trained 14 national AAU finalists, one national champion and an Olympic bronze medalist before leaving in 1971. He first came to the Husky program as an assistant coach in 1968 and, one year later, succeeded John Tallman as head coach.

    He earned recognition for his own athletic accomplishments as well. He was a two-time high school All-American at Mt. Vernon High before earning All-America honors at the collegiate level as well while competing for the University of Iowa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Iowa and then returned to the Pacific Northwest. He enrolled at the University of Puget Sound and was an NAIA All-America swimmer in addition to competing as a distance runner on the track team.

    • 1960-1961- Highline High School, Cascade Swim Club.
    • 1962-1969 – Assistant coach, University of Washington.
    • 1969-1998 – University of Washington Head Coach.
    • National Champions: Jack Horsley – 200 back, 1968; Robin Backhaus 200 Fly, 74-75.
    • Olympic Medalists: Jack Horsley- 200 back, 1968 Bronze medal; Rick Demont, 400 Free Gold; Doug Northway – Bronze 1500 Free in Munich; Rick Colella – Bronze – 200 Breast, Montreal.
    • 2004 Husky Hall of Fame Inductee.
    • 1992-93 Pacific-10 Women’s Coach of the Year.
    • 2014 Inaugural Mark Prothero Award recipient.