LEXINGTON, Ky. – George Villarreal, the former head coach at Chicago and Frostburg State, has been named to lead the Transylvania swimming and diving program, Pioneers’ athletics director Jack Ebel said Monday.
Villarreal replaces Ebel, who coached the Transy swimmers for 27 years before moving up to athletics director earlier this year. Vilarreal becomes just the second head coach in the history of the program.
Transy’s men finished second in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference last year while the women were fourth and combined for a third place finish. The Pioneers compete as members of the NCAA’s Division III.
Villarreal compiled a dual meet record of 12-9-1 at Chicago last year and over the last three seasons, he guided the Maroons to a pair of NCAA Division III top-40 finishes. Under his leadership, Chicago posted its best ever University Athletic Association finishes, getting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly two decades.
“George is a proven head coach at the NCAA Division III level,” said Ebel. “He is in excellent fit for Transylvania and we look forward to having him on our coaching staff. He’s the perfect person to help us become competitive in Division III swimming and diving.”
Under Villarreal’s leadership, Chicago set 28 new school records in 14 events with relay teams meeting the qualifying times for the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time.
In addition to his position at Chicago, Villarreal was the head coach at Frostburg State from 1998-2003 and at Gallaudet from 1995-96. He was also a graduate assistant at Texas A&M from 1996-98.
He was named Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and his swimmers set 22 new conference records. Frostburg State swimmers qualified for NCAA Championships from 2001-03.
A 1994 graduate of Emory, Villarreal was a four-time NCAA Division III qualifier and a 1994 All-American. He was the UAA Swimmer of the Year in 1993 and set 11 school records at Emory.
Villarreal has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Emory and a master’s in exercise physiology from Texas A&M.
A total of eight Transy men made the All-Conference team in 13 events while seven women qualified in six events.
Transy will be in its third season as an active member of the NCAA Division III in 2006-07.