1978 National Champions
After finishing in the nation's top four in each of the previous 1978 National Scorers six years, the Tennessee Volunteers finally brought home the NCAA swimming and diving title in 1978.
The Vols dominated the 55th annual NCAA Championships held in Long Beach, Calif., piling up 307 points to 185 for SEC rival Auburn. Tennessee took a 24-point lead on the first day of competition and was never seriously challenged on the way to victory. Tennessee became the first team from the South to win the NCAA swimming and diving title.
While the sprint freestylers were the strength of the Volunteers, UT scored points in 16 of the 18 events that were contested.
The Vols were led by Andy Coan, who earned individual national championships in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Coan was the meet's high scorer with 61.5 points. For his efforts, Coan was named Outstanding Swimmer at the Championships.
"What helped me most ... was realizing that I was on a team that probably worked harder than anybody else in the country," Coan said. "We don't stop until the meet is over, regardless of whether we reach our goal."
Sophomore Marc Foreman was UT's second-leading scorer with 43.5 points and captain Bob Sells was third with 41.5 points. John Newton, Kent Martin and Gary Faykes also had impressive showings for the Volunteers.
"It was all a matter of hard work," Sells said. "That was the story of our whole season."
The squad shaved coach Ray Bussard's head after returning to the Student Aquatic Center and tossed many of those on hand into the pool.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for these kids," Bussard said. "They'll be able someday to tell their kids what they did here. At Tennessee we say that winning is living. "Our championship rings have 'triple A-bar-zero' on them," Bussard said. "That comes from General Patton. It means we'll meet you any place, any way, anytime, bar nothing."