Bret Lundgaard recently completed his second season as an assistant coach for the Tennessee men's and women's swimming and diving program.
"My passion for the relentless pursuit of continual improvement is what drives me every day," Lundgaard said. Throughout my athletic and coaching career, I've always recognized the undeniable energy I draw from assisting a teammate, family member or friend in their individual process of progress- to me, it is the most profound impact I can make on those around me.
In Lundgaard's first season back on Rocky Top in 2013, Tennessee enjoyed strong dual meet and championship seasons as a combined program. The Lady Vols won their first three NCAA relay titles on their way to finishing third as a team at the national meet, the best finish in program history. Meanwhile, the Vols took fourth at SECs and 16th at NCAAs.
In 2014, Tennessee's women again produced a top-10 finish, taking seventh overall at the NCAA championships. Lindsay Gendron highlighted the meet by winning the bronze medal in both the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly, setting school records in both. The UT men again improved from the year before, finishing 15th.
At the SEC meet in 2015, the men's and women's teams improved placement from the year before, both finishing fourth in the standings. On the men's side, Sean Lehane defended his SEC title in the 200 backstroke and placed second in the event at NCAAs. The year marked a real youth movement for the men's teams with six swimmers or divers earned All-America honors for the first time. Molly Hannis led the Tennessee women throughout her final collegiate season. At the SEC meet, she earned two more silver medals in the breaststroke events and also helped Tennessee win the two medley relays. She ended her career as a 14-time All-America by picking up four more awards.
"Bret is one of the most impressive young coaches that I've ever encountered," head coach Matt Kredich said. "He's very knowledgeable; he has a great way of communicating with people, and has a proven record of coaching and recruiting effectiveness at the United States Military Academy. He has exemplary recommendations from officials at one of our nation's most rigorous and prestigious institutions."
As the recruiting coordinator at Army, Lundgaard helped the Black Knights land the program's best signing class for the men (2010) and the women (2011) in more than a decade, and Lundgaard helped the Black Knights rewrite their team record board as both the men's and women's teams combined to improve over 20 team records.
Prior to his post at Army, Lundgaard was the assistant coach for Boulder City (Nev.) High School in 2008-09, helping the team to a fourth-place finish at the state championships. He was also an assistant coach with the Desert Storm Swim Team, a club that has produced Olympic Trial qualifiers. While coaching, Lundgaard also worked full-time as a Psychosocial Rehabilitative Worker for Agape Children's Services in Las Vegas.
"We are very fortunate to have someone of Bret's character, work ethic, and ability at the University of Tennessee," Kredich said. "He's going to play a key role in establishing our men's and women's teams among the premiere swimming and diving programs in the country."
He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in Journalism while also earning a Certificate of Business in Marketing. He is currently studying at the University of Tennessee and is paced to earn his Master's in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Psychology and Motor Behavior in the spring of 2014.
"What I enjoy most throughout the commitment to continual improvement is that it is a belief that is limitless," Lundgaard said. "There are always ways to swim more efficiently, create a more dynamic atmosphere, and become more effective leaders of character. I'm grateful to be a part of a staff that shares similar beliefs, but also contributes a multitude of additional strengths to our pool deck. It is what I believe enables us to become the premiere swimming program for student athletes to blossom under."
Lundgaard was Kredich's first hire since being named head of the combined men's and women's swimming and diving program in April 2012. He and his wife of five years, Jessica Lundgaard (Milicic), hail from Boulder City, Nev. They have two huskies (Bojangles and Sunny) and two cats (Loki and Lucy).