Dan  Colella

Dan Colella

Head Swimming Coach

Alma Mater:
Sewanee '84


Dan Colella knows what it takes to build a program into a national success, allowing its athletes the chance to achieve greatness.

His knowledge and competence are demonstrated by the fact that 29 Tennessee athletes have achieved a total of 132 All-America honors under this tutelage. The most notable of all these recipients is Tennessee's first swimmer to capture a national title, Nicole deMan. She won the 50y freestyle crown in 1996 and notched 20 career All-America nods, including 15 under Colella, and was named All-SEC all four years. While at UT, Colella has led his squads to four top-15 finishes and eight top-25 finishes.

In addition to this success at the NCAA level, Colella has also helped guide numerous athletes to prominence within the conference ranks. During his tenure, the Lady Vols have captured SEC medals in 53 individual and relay events, including 18 of those by conference champions.

Last season, Colella's squad earned a fourth-place finish at the SEC Championships, its best placing since the 2000 squad also took fourth. The squad was driven by a nationally accomplished recruiting class to go along with a solid core of returning talent, pushing the Lady Vols all season long. At the NCAA Championships, the Big Orange took home four All-America certificates en route to a 28th-place NCAA finish. This year, with a bevy of returning talent combined by yet another strong recruiting class, Colella has UT ready to ride the wave of success to even higher levels.

In 1996, Colella piloted Tennessee to one of its most prolific seasons ever. That year, 10 Lady Vols garnered a total of 30 All-America honors en route to bringing UT a ninth-place NCAA finish.

In addition to his collegiate work, Colella has also been active on the national and international levels. He has coached athletes who have appeared in the Olympic Games, Olympic Trials, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Games, World Championships and World University Games. In 2004, three Lady Vols competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, including Jacque Fessel, Megan Tomes (semi-finaled in the 200 IM), and Pam Hanson (semi-finaled in 100 Backstroke and finaled in the 200 Backstroke). Former UT swimmer Fabiola Molina represented Brazil at the 2000 Olympics, as she competed in the 100m back and 100m fly in Sydney.

Before his stint as head coach of the Orange and White, Colella was an assistant coach with the Lady Vols. He helped the team to a record of 22-10 during three seasons from 1990-93.

Prior to coming to Knoxville, Colella enjoyed a successful turn as an assistant coach at Indian River Community College in Florida from 1986-90. During his years with Indian River, he helped the team win NJCAA national men's and women's championships in each of his four seasons.

At the club level, Colella has been successful in re-establishing the Tennessee Aquatics Club, where he has guided his swimmers to success on the Junior and Senior National levels.

Much of Colella's success as a coach can be attributed to his experience as a swimmer himself in high school and college. A graduate of St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Fla., Colella was the school's Most Valuable Swimmer in 1980. The Southington, Conn., native then attended the University of the South (Sewanee), where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in natural resource management and geology. At Sewanee, he was a member of the Order of the Gownsmen, an academic honor society, and Beta Theta Pi.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Colella was a four-year swimmer for the Tigers and served as team captain for two years. He also earned the team's Most Valuable Swimmer nod on three occasions. Colella won two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles in 1981 (100y and 200y backstroke) and never finished lower than seventh in the conference in any individual event. He specialized in butterfly and individual medley events his last three years at Sewanee. At the time of his graduation, he was the school's all-time leading scorer in championship meets.

Colella enjoys listening to music in his free time and currently resides in Knoxville with his wife, Victoria, their sons, Henry and George, and two dogs: Ellie and Jack.


  • Led Tennessee to top-25 NCAA finishes in nine of the last 11 years, including four in the top-15
  • Lady Vol athletes have claimed 132 All-America honors, 18 SEC titles and one NCAA crown under his tutelage
  • Helped squad to eight national titles as an assistant at Indian River Community College
  • Two-time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference champion at Sewanee


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