Former M-A swimming and water polo coach Bob Gaughran receives Amos Alonso Stagg Award

by Linda Hubbard on January 25, 2014

Former M-A swimming and water polo coach Bob Gaughran, who has garnered many accolades over the years both as swimmer/water polo player and coach, added another one this weekend. His alma mater, the University of Pacific, recognized him with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award of Merit, given to alumni who achieve distinction in their professional lives through the examples of integrity, dedication, idealism, and team spirit that Stagg personified. (Stagg coached football at Pacific from 1933-46.)

On hand to celebrate were a number of Gaughran’s former M-A players, including from left to right, Clay Clement (’61) Jim MacKenzie (’63), Coach Gaughran, Dave MacKenzie (’61) and Dennis Nugent (’66). Clay, Jim and Dennis also competed at Pacific.

“My years at Pacific gave me the knowledge and skills for my coaching and teaching career,” said Bob in his remarks to the assembled supporters. “I’m not deserving, but I’ll take it and run. Thank you.”

Bob graduated from Sequoia High School before going first to Stockton College and then receiving a swimming/water polo scholarship to the University of Pacific, where he proceeded to break all game, season, and career water polo scoring records.  His Pacific career total of 340 goals remains the school record.

After graduation from Pacific, Bob was hired to teach physical education and coach swimming and water polo at Menlo-Atherton High School (1958-65)  where he won 18 swimming and water polo crowns, producing 24 swimming All-Americans and 8 water polo All-Americans, and winning two CIF swimming and two CIF water polo championships.

A member of the Menlo-Atherton High School Hall of Fame, two of his high school swimmers won Olympic medals; one — Dick Roth — while still in high school. The other was Greg Buckingham; little brother Lindsey also swam for Jim, although he is said to have always been more serious about his guitar than excelling in the water. (Lindsey and fellow M-A alum Stevie Nicks are best known as members of Fleetwood Mac.)

Jim left M-A to coach at Santa Ana College, from which he retired in 1996. For 43 years (1970 to 2012), he also produced the National Coaches Clinics.

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