McAdoo Clan

This McAdoo genealogy blog has been created to share family information. It will be used to record genealogy data as well as to communicate family news.

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Location: Metuchen, New Jersey, United States

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Coaching Student Athletes – The Reward

I am beginning to realize that coaching student athletes may be a very special gift. For years I wondered why my dad loved coaching at Swarthmore College. I am learning that perhaps it was not so much what he got out of it; rather what he was able to give to others. I think he recognized early in his career at Swarthmore that his role was not to develop great swimmers, but to help students develop a competitive spirit, improve skills, and have fun. He understood why students went to Swarthmore and he was comfortable in his role. A number of swimmers have commented on his coaching style.

“What a pleasure it is to remember your Dad. I only served during my freshman year on the Swarthmore swim team, in the fall and winter of 1942-3.”…“Then your father talked me into becoming the team's only diver. There was no other so I could always expect to earn one third place point for the team in each of our meets. I had to learn 10 dives. The half and full gainer soon became my biggest challenges. Jimmie sometimes draped me in a wet towel to protect me from the long series of back flops I underwent. After earning a few single points and amusing the bystanders with my suicidal antics, I slowly got the knack and actually earned a second place in one of our last meets. Then I went on to the Navy and completed training as a naval aviator. Due to your father's patience and skill, I was able to do fairly well on swimming teams at several of the bases we were stationed at around the United States.” Kendall Landis ’48

“Alas, I wasn't really one of Jimmy's swimmers. I was the guy who carried the towels and made sure the real swimmers had honey and orange slices to give them the energy they needed to win. I have fond memories of Jimmy, but mostly as the coach who gently but firmly told me where to move the towels.”
“P.S. -- I had no idea that Jimmy only coached at Swarthmore until 1972. I thought of him as immortal.” Bob Snow '69

“I loved Jimmy. I was not a great swimmer by any means, and he treated me the same way he treated the stars of the team--with fairness, warmth, humor, and with high expectations that we always tried hard to meet. I ended up being awarded an athletic letter, which I'm not sure I ever would have gotten under another coach.” Ron Hale '65

“Jimmy despaired that I never trained steadily enough. I countered that it was important to my success that I not learn how to swim slow. I was a sprinter and with his guidance about stroke speed and reach and not feathering on the pull, I did very well. My feet are large and a lot might be attributed to my kick. Jimmy and my teammates of the 1959-62 seasons claimed that with my foot size anyone could do as well. We had a lot of fun, both in routine practice and in trips and meets at home and away. I swam four years and was successful from my freshman year but to everyone's surprise, not the least my own, I actually bettered my own 50 and 100 yard freestyle records in my senior year. Jimmy's training style with me was to encourage and give me pointers about starts, turns, hand entry, minimizing rolling. but as I say, he despaired about my unwillingness to do lots of laps.” “But Jimmy always took pleasure in doing what we could with what we had ……”
Sandy Williams, 'Sanderson' or 'Father' as Jimmy called me Albert J. Williams 3rd, '62

“Jimmy was one of the most memorable individuals I met during my time at Swarthmore. Besides his great enthusiasm, I remember his unwavering and flexible support. As you probably know, for many of us swimming wasn’t the reason why we went to Swarthmore. So, seminars, labs, or other activities often took priority over practice (and sometimes meets!). That did not seem to faze Jimmy at all, which makes him a lot bigger man in my eyes than almost any other coach I’ve ever encountered. Jimmy wanted to work with any of us who showed up, when we could show up. He understood that swimming is just one of many things in life, and you would get back from it what you put into it.” Kevin Quigley ‘74

“I was a freshman at Swarthmore in the Fall of 1948. I did go out for the swimming team and quickly proved I was not the strongest or the best. I recall Jimmy as a helpful and kind person who never gave any indication that I was simply not cut out to be a good competitive swimmer. He did let me swim in several meets and I did get a letter. I think now that anyone who made a real effort would get praise from McAdoo and a letter too.”
Robert W. Hamilton ‘52

“I was at Swarthmore from 1968 thru 1972. I fondly remember your father as the swimming coach. What I remember most was his easy manner of handling swimmers during practice and the pre-meet pep talks. "Knock their jocks off", sticks with me. He was at all times encouraging and supportive, no matter the result of a race. He appreciated the difficult academic pressure that we faced, and factored that into his expectations for individual improvement and advancement. He made competition fun.” Harald Pedersen ‘72

“I knew Jimmy as a very cheerful, enthusiastic, and supportive man, an excellent coach who really taught me how to swim. He gave me the opportunity to be on the team, participate in meets, and eventually to getting a letter. I never considered myself to be much of an athlete, but probably because of the lack of other choices I got on the 400-yard free-style relay team. I was the slowest, barely breaking a minute on my leg, but the others were so good that we set a college record which I heard remained on the board in the pool room for some years ...” David Alburger ‘42


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