SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Legendary long-time UC Santa Barbara men's and women's swim coach Gregg Wilson was recently inducted into the 2018 American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He was one of four coaches along with Ed Spencer, Pete Motekaitis and Chuck Riggs to be recognized by the ASCA Board of Directors in Anaheim earlier this month.
Wilson spent 40 years as the head men's swimming coach at UC Santa Barbara, the last 32 of which he also served as the head women's coach.
He embarked on his Gaucho journey in 1975-76 when he assumed the reins of the men's program. In 1985, after spending one year at his alma mater Cal, he took control of the women's program as well. What followed was a period of unprecedented success for both programs.
He coached his UCSB men's team to the Big West Conference title in 1979, beginning a run of 23 consecutive championships for the Gauchos, all but one coming with him at the helm of the program. He also guided the team to four other league crowns for a total of 26. In 1985, Wilson coached the women's team to the first of 13 championships over a 25-year stretch, giving him 36 total Big West titles. In his illustrious career, he was named Big West Men's Coach of the Year 15 times, Big West Women's Coach of the Year on 12 occasions and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Women's Coach of the Year three times.
In addition to the 39 team championships that Wilson's squads won, he coached nearly 430 individuals and relay teams to conference championships, 22 of his swimmers earned either Big West Conference or Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimmer of the Year Honors and six were named Freshman of the Year. On the national level, Wilson guided 72 swimmers to All-American status.
On the international stage he coached five Olympians, including Team USA gold medalists Richard Schroeder and Jason Lezak. In addition, Wilson had multitudes of swimmers qualify for the United States Olympic Trials and numerous others that competed in the World University Games and Pan American Games.
In 2016, Wilson was awarded the prestigious National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy and he will also be inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.
Wilson and his wife Carol raised their two daughters (Diana Spieker and Melissa McCann) and one son (Paul) in Santa Barbara. He has continued assisting the UCSB men's and women's swimming programs as a volunteer and he has advised Westmont College as it moves towards adding women's swimming.