When it comes to swimming and the Ohio Valley, one name has been synonymous with both.
That being Bill Brubaker.
Whether it's been coaching or as a meet director, Brubaker has consistently done his part for both Linsly School and the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.
That made Saturday's recognition basically a no brainer for Tom Rataiczak and the OVAC brass.
It was formally announced at the annual OVAC Championship that the swimming meet would officially be forever known as the "OVAC Bill Brubaker Swimming Championship."
"When (the OVAC Executive Board) discussed the 70th anniversary, it felt that the timing would be perfect to recognize Bill for his dedication and loyalty to OVAC swimming," said Rataiczak. "The days of people doing something like this for 30-plus years are gone. We've been so fortunate to have someone of Bill's expertise not only in swimming, but also in meet management run this championship."
What makes Brubaker's dedication to the OVAC even more impressive is the fact that he wasn't born and raised in the Ohio Valley. He's a graduate of Mechanichsburg High School in Pennsylvania. He, however, has spent his entire teaching and high school coaching career at Linsly School.
After lettering four years at West Virginia University and serving as a team captain in the 1977-78 season, Brubaker accepted a position on the Mountaineers' coaching staff. He spent one season doing that and got his first taste of meet management in 1980 when he served as the director of the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming Championship.
Then he made his way to the Wheeling campus to coach the Cadets, whom he's built it into one of the premier swim programs in the area. He's guided his teams to some 20 OVAC titles.
He's coached four all-American swimmers, Bert Hazlett, Jenny Loew, Theron Pappas and Kevin Rosepappa. He's had 31 academic all-Americans and sent swimmers to Division I programs such as WVU, Yale, Cornell, Ohio State, Penn State and Navy.
"I couldn't even begin to count the number of coaches and swimmers Bill has tutored over his career," Rataiczak said. "The Linsly pool is always open to anyone who seriously wants to develop his swimming or coaching skills. To Bill, swimming takes place 365 days a year. Whether it's high school season, AAU or national meets, Bru is poolside."
He just completed his 33rd consecutive year as the OVAC Swimming Director.
"Not only is Bill the premier swim coach in the OVAC, he is highly respected and sought after on the state and national level," Rataiczak said.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org