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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

TCU’s longest tenured head coach reflects on last 35 years

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Coaching and longevity are two words not often seen side by side.

But when referring to TCU head swim coach Richard Sybesma, it’s almost impossible to talk about one without the other.

“I’m 61 and I still have the energy, and I still have the desire to win, and I still want to make kids fast,” Sybesma said.

It all began in 1978 when Sybesma, a Texas Tech graduate, took the helm of the TCU Swimming and Diving program that was just getting started.

“That’s probably one of the reasons I got the job. I just believed I could do it,” Sybesma said. “I started recruiting and recruiting and got some good swimmers in here and started having some success.”

Success in the coaching world typically means getting scooped up by bigger, more established programs. Not for Sybesma, who says his divorce early on in his coaching career made him hesitant to leave Fort Worth and his two young daughters behind.

“For me, having my children in Fort Worth after getting divorced was something special to me. I love Fort Worth, I enjoy Fort Worth, and I love TCU. I didn’t want to miss seeing my girls grow up,” Sybesma said.

So he stayed, and since making that decision to remain in Fort Worth because of a “combination of family commitment and loyalty to the university,” Sybesma has raked in awards over the course of his 35-year career.

“In 2004, I was awarded the Conference USA Coach of the Year of all sports, and it was pretty cool. It was my biggest honor. That doesn’t happen very often to a swimming coach, a minor sports coach,” Sybesma said. “But I think the one I’m most proud of is when I got the TCU Athletic Department Teammate of the Year, which is for your involvement and overall support of TCU’s Athletic Department.”

The success story of Sybesma’s job that most people pay attention to include notable wins over SMU, Texas A&M and Notre Dame. He says the winning has been rewarding, but a different facet of coaching has been more satisfying.

“As long as I think I can make a difference with kids’ lives, not necessarily make them swim faster, but help them grow in their TCU years, that’s what I really love doing is working with them and helping them,” Sybesma said.

The winning part, and the fact that he’s been able to do it at TCU, doesn’t hurt either.

“TCU is definitely a special place to work and has a special place in my heart, and for me, seeing the team exceed expectations against big programs is fun,” Sybesma said. “Our kids have a special pride in winning, and after spending 35 years here, I sincerely believe I bleed purple.”

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