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Manuel. Jack appreciates his original hometown which has segued from the Schuylkill to the Oconee where immovable roots are now entrenched. Home is irrevocably here. He is fascinated by geography and inspired by history. He has arranged for a photo-op at the Liberty Bell and has enjoyed dinner at the defunct Swamp Guinea, ten miles east of Athens. That took place on a recruiting visit which introduced him to the Bubba’s of the Southland. Going home, the driver of his car got in a drag race with the driver of another car on Georgia Highway 72. But let’s not forget the mainstay of his resume. He is first and foremost a swimming coach who has majored in champions and championships. Athletes from far and wide seek him out for his training expertise. Tokyo will be his sixth straight Olympics: Sydney, 2000; Greece, ‘04; China, ‘08; London, ‘12 and Rio, ‘16 were the previous venues. The Greece and London Olympics, he was not a coach but went there to help train his own swimmers— at their behest.

“It is an honor and a privilege to coach in Olympic competition,” he said wistfully. “To represent your country is the highest honor you could experience. I have always felt I was serving my country when I got to an Olympic venue. I place a high value on that. You get so emotional during the opening ceremony. You glory in seeing our flag out there. You think about all the people who helped get you there. I think of my wonderful parents, Grace and Harry, who toted me everywhere for swim meets when I was a kid; I think of Coach Dooley and Liz Murphy, who hired me and all the many athletes who have come through our program. I think of the great University of Georgia and what it has meant to this state and the impact it made on the world.”

He also thinks of his family who have to give him up for long periods of time: Leigh Ann and sons John, Magill and Duke; Gerry Chambers and Tom Tuggle, two English professors who provided direction at a critical juncture in his life.

His box score of accomplishments runneth over: record setting performer in two events as a collegian; as a coach, twelve SEC titles, seven NCAA women’s titles; 14 times SEC women’s coach of the year honors; twice SEC men’s coach of the year; head coach of the U. S. Olympic team in 2008 (China) where Team USA won more medals than any team in the Olympics. He has seen Georgia swimmers bring home 31 medals and counting.

You can be a competitor with an insatiable appetite to excel, you can be a Renaissance man connected to a wide world, but you can also be a sentimental and grateful man. No competitor, no coach has had more fire in the belly to overachieve than Georgia’s Jack Bauerle—none more thankful.

All Dawgs should glory in his having come our way.

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