Coach Frank Keefe

Frank Keefe
Frank Keefe

2005 ASCA Hall of Fame Inductee

Men’s & Women’s Swimming Head Coach, Yale University

Frank Keefe, Yale’s Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming, who has 488 wins combined between the men’s and women’s teams, has certainly made an impression on the swimming community around the league and country.

Keefe began as the head coach of the Yale men’s team in 1978 and the women’s team in 1980. He completed his 32nd and final year with the Bulldogs in 2009-10. Keefe successfully forged Yale Swimming’s prestigious and illustrious past with his own unique drive for excellence and achievement.

“I grew-up in the New Haven area, and my father worked in the Physical Education Department. Yale has been family for my entire life,” Keefe said. “Over these past 30 years I have been blessed with more than 500 swimmers and divers who have graduated from Yale. I hope I was able to be a positive influence and a part of their experience. Yale is about people that strive to be the best at what they choose to be. It’s been a wonderful experience and I am grateful to be part of the lives I had the opportunity to touch.”

Frank Keefe began working in 1960 for the Phoenix Mutual Insurance Company in sales (1960-61) at the same time he started working at Bonner High School as a teacher for English literature, business law, and as a swim coach (1960-65). In 1965, he became the Director Aquatics and Head Swimming Coach at Suburban Swim club. While at Suburban Swim club his team obtained the title of Eastern USA Champs in 1969 through 1976, and finished in the Top 10 National AAU Championships 1968 through 1976. In 1976-78, he worked at the Foxcatcher Swim Club as Head Coach and Owner. As head coach at Foxcatcher the team claimed Eastern USA Champs in 1977-78 and finished in the Top 5 in National AAU from 1977-78. In 1978 until he retired in 2010, he worked as the Director Aquatics for Yale University, presiding as Head Coach for Men’s and Women’s swimming along with being owner and director of Omni Swim Club.

Keefe, who earned a 2009 American Swimming Coaches Association Award of Excellence, is a two-time Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Coach of the Year. He led the men’s team to an Ivy League title in 1991-92 and guided the women’s team to five Ivy crowns, including undefeated seasons in 1992-93 and 1996-97.

In addition to an extensive collegiate background, Keefe has plenty of international coaching experience. Keefe served as an assistant coach for the 1984 United States Olympic team at Los Angeles and was the head manager for the 1988 Olympic team at Seoul. He also served as the U.S. coach for the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games and as an assistant coach at the 1978 World Championships.

Before starting at Yale, Keefe had already coached nine Olympic swimmers, including gold medalist Carl Robie and silver medalist Tim McKee. More recently, he coached George Gleason ’00 and Stephen Fahy ’00 to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Keefe, a 1960 graduate of Villanova, is a member both Wildcats’ and state of Pennsylvania Halls of Fame. He is a native of East Haven, Conn., where he is also was enshrined in its Hall of Fame. Keefe and his wife, Kathleen, have four children.

Coaching Honors:

  • 1971: Head Coach USA vs. Japan
  • 1973: Head Coach USA Junior Team vs. West Germany and Netherlands
  • 1974: Took Suburban Swim Club to Russia to compete in Russian Nationals. Had high point winner in this competition.
  • 1975: Head Coach USA Pan American Team – Mexico City
  • 1976: Head Coach USA vs. Canada
  • 1977: Head Coach USA vs. East Germany and USSR
  • 1978: Head Coach USA to Netherland and France Assistant Coach USA – World Championships
  • 1979: Head Coach USA – Pan American Games
  • 1982: Head Coach East Team USCO Sports Festival
  • 1982: Assistant Coach USA vs. USSR – Knoxville, TN
  • 1983: Assistant Coach USA – Pan Pacific Games
  • 1984: Assistant USA Olympic Coach
  • 1985: Head Coach East Team USOC Sports Festival
  • 1988: Head Manager USA Olympic Team Seoul, Korea
  • 2000: Bermuda Olympic Head Coach, Sidney, Australia
  • 2001: Ivy League Women’s Coach of the Year

National Positions:

  • President – American Swimming Coaches Association (1978-1980)
  • United States Olympic Committee (1973-1988)
  • National Rules Committee
  • National Senior Swim Committee
  • National AAU National Time Standards Chairman (1974-79)
  • Vice President – American Swim Coaches Association (1976-78)

Other Honors::

  • Villanova University Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Pennsylvania Hall of Fame
  • East Haven Hall of Fame
  • Speaker at clinics all over the world – England, France, Ireland, Germany, Russia, East Germany, etc.

Some Outstanding Swimmers Frank Keefe Coached:

  • Carl Robie –1968 Mexico City Olympics 200 Meter Butterfly – Gold Medal
  • Philip Long – Finalist 1968 Olympics 200 Backstroke
  • Tim McKee – 2 Silver Medals 1972 Olympics – Munich, W. Germany – 200 and 400 Individual Medley / 1 Silver Medal 1976 Montreal Olympics – 400 Individual Medley
  • Julie Woodcock – Finalist World Championships – 1971 Belgrade, Yugoslavia – 200 Individual Medley
  • Greg Jagenburg – World Champion 1975 – Cali, Colombia 100 Butterfly – Top Butterflyer in the USA 1974-75.
  • Brenda Borgh – Finalist 400 Meter Freestyle – 1976 Olympics – Montreal, Canada
  • Olof VonShilling and Tom Aretz – Members of 1972 West German Olympic Team
  • John Daly – 1976 Puerto Rico Olympic Team
  • Tom Mintz – NCAA All-American 200 Breaststroke 1981 – Yale University National Finalist
  • Sindee Simon – AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) All-American
  • Sharon Veitz – AIAW All-American
  • Kate Hazelwood – National Finalist, All-American
  • Mark Loftis – National Finalist
  • Lisa O’Dell – NCAA All-American
  • Jason Rosenbaum – NCAA All-American
  • Missy Dalrymple – NCAA All-American
  • Suzanne Heizer – NCAA All-American
  • 1992-1997 Yale Men and Women’s Teams Academic All American
  • George Gleason – NCAA All American