John Trembley     
      John Trembley
Head Coach

For more than two decades, John Trembley has dutifully served as the head coach of The University of Tennessee men's swimming and diving program. Under his guidance, the Volunteers compete alongside the nation's upper echelon of collegiate aquatics programs.

The most successful coach in the formidable Southeastern Conference, Trembley is also the longest tenured current coach in the UT men's athletics department and the third all-time longest tenure as a Tennessee head coach in any sport.

'JT,' as he is known on The Hill, was called to his alma mater in 1988 to replace retiring legendary Vols' head swimming coach Ray Bussard. Since that time, the Big Orange program has been a model of academic success and athletic excellence while producing some of the nation's most successful student-athletes.

Trembley's prowess as a coach and motivator was instantly realized when, in his inaugural campaign, he led the 1988-89 team to an SEC title. His first team earned a 10-2 dual meet record, including a 5-1 record within the SEC. In his first year at the helm of the program, Trembley set a new standard for the Big Orange. He had the most successful start of any head swimming and diving coach in UT history. He is also the only current SEC head coach to win an conference title in his first year. The Vols' ninth-place NCAA finish was the first top 10 for the Big Orange in 10 seasons. The new spirit of competitiveness brought to Rocky Top by Trembley was unmistakable, and the Vols' NCAA performance showed everyone in the sport the Tennessee Volunteers were back.

That standard has continued throughout Trembley's tenure. The past 22 years shine as some of the brightest years in UT aquatics history as Tennessee owns 14 top three SEC finishes and 15 top- 10 NCAA finishes. During the Trembley era, the Vols have broken school records on 99 occasions and have won 54 individual SEC championships as well as 20 SEC relay titles.

His reputation of turning out some of the nation's best swimmers has been proven in the development of performers like Jeremy Linn, Melvin Stewart and Tripp Schwenk, all three champions on the SEC, NCAA and Olympic levels. Each of these athletes developed under Trembley's tutelage and later won four gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal.

In addition to these athletes, Trembley has coached 14 other Olympians at UT, including three who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Athletes coached by JT at Tennessee have won three titles at the World Championships, five championships at the World University Games, four Goodwill Games' crowns and three Short Course World Championships titles. Trembley's record of producing world class athletes speaks for itself.

Before taking the reins of the Big Orange program, Trembley was the head coach at Mercersburg College in Mercersburg, Pa. From 1980-88, Trembley's program was one of the most dominant in the nation, boasting a dual-meet record of 95-2. He coached Mercersburg to seven national prep-school titles and six Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming Championships crowns.

Prior to his tenure at Mercersburg Academy, Trembley served as a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee. As a deck coach under Bussard, Trembley served the Vols from 1975-79 and assisted one of the most successful periods in UT history. While Trembley was an assistant, The Big Orange owned an impressive 65-6 dual-meet record, won five SEC titles and the 1978 NCAA crown.

As a student-athlete, Trembley remains one of the most decorated swimmers in Tennessee history. From 1970-74, the Loudonville, N.Y., native won five SEC championships, nine NCAA titles, earned 20 All-America honors and set three American records in the 50 freestyle and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. He was also the first swimmer to win five crowns in one NCAA event. At the 1972 championships, Trembley put on a show before a home crowd in Knoxville, winning three individual events-- 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke-- and was a part of two relay titles in the 400 and 800 freestyle. The Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio, named Trembley the 1972 National Swimmer of the Year.

In 1985, for his outstanding collegiate accomplishments and his contributions to the Tennessee program as an assistant coach, Trembley was inducted into the Tennessee Swimming Hall of Fame. He is the founder and president of United Swimming Clinics, a camp for competitive swimmers, and has mentored more than 13,000 swimmers worldwide through the program. He was honored by the NCAA in 2000 as a recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award, given to student-athletes who distinguish themselves in their athletic field 25 years after graduation. Trembley has also served as a national coach on many levels, including his work as the coach of the 2002 United States Short Course World Championships team.

Few people have ever been as passionate about Tennessee swimming and diving as John Trembley. The relentless drive that keeps Trembley going every day translates to the athletes that don the Orange and White and represent the Vols. Trembley's mission as head coach at UT is stated best in his own words, "Faith in the mission of the coaches extending to the swimmers, trust from swimmer to swimmer, self discipline and real accountability for training and racing are the keys to a successful season."

Trembley and his wife, Joanne Hogan Trembley, a former UT Timette, have three sons- John Michael, Jeff and Lee. The Trembleys attend Second Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Trembley File
Born: Oct. 23, 1952, Schenectady, N.Y.
Education: Shaker High School, Louonville, N.Y.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1975)
Collegiate Swimming: Freestyle sprinter, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Five-time NCAA champion
  • Five-time SEC champion
  • 20 All-America certificates
Coaching Career: Tennessee (assistant coach) 1975-79
Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy (head coach) 1980-88
Tennessee (head coach) 1988-present
Wife: Joanne Hogan Trembley
Children: John Michael, Jeff and Lee


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