Head Coach of Men’s Swimming, University of Michigan
In 22 years as head coach at the University of Michigan, Jon Urbanchek made himself a permanent fixture in the Michigan history books. As one of the finest swimming coaches ever to grace the pool deck, he guided the Wolverines to 13 Big Ten titles and a NCAA title in 1995. This was Michigan’s 11th NCAA title, 34 years after Urbanchek himself was a member of the winning teams in 1958, 1959, and 1961.
After retiring from the University of Michigan in 2004, Urbanchek continued to be active in the national and international swimming community serving as a High Performance coach at Club Wolverine until 2009 and as the special assistant to USA Swimming’s National Team Director until the London Olympics. He returned to FAST (Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team) in 2010 to coach the USOC-supported post-graduate program. It was at FAST that Urbanchek’s Olympic success began and ended; in 1976 Rod Strachan won gold in world record time in the 400 IM and in 2012 Tyler Clary won the 200 Back with a new Olympic record. He guided three other swimmers to world records and Olympic gold: Mike Barrowman (200m Breaststroke, 1992); Tom Dolan (400m IM, 1996 and 2000); and Tom Malchow (200m Butterfly, 2000). In total, Urbanchek has coached 38 U.S. Olympians to 10 gold medals.
Urbanchek ended his active coaching at the completion of the London Games and is presently starting his third season as a volunteer coach at the University of Southern California under his former swimmer, Dr. Dave Salo (Long Beach State, ’78). Urbanchek splits his time between Fullerton and Ann Arbor where his wife Melanie is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. His daughter Kirsten (Michigan ’91) and grand-daughter Claire live in Baltimore.