Tigers lose legendary coach

David Fry created a legacy of swimming at Dalhousie.

- October 22, 2015

David Fry in 2012
David Fry in 2012

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of former Tigers swim coach, David Fry.

David Fry began his career with the Tigers in 1981, spending two seasons as an interim head coach while Nigel Kemp was on sabbatical  (1981 and 1993), and assisting with the Tigers until 1998 when he was named Kemp’s successor. In his 16 years as head coach, he amassed 30 conference titles, leading his teams to a nearly unblemished Atlantic University Sport championship record, earning titles every year with just two exceptions (men’s 1992-93, women’s 2000-01). David was named Dalhousie’s coach of the year four times, an AUS coach of the year 20 times (10 times each for men’s and women’s swimming), and was also named CIS coach of the year for the women in 2003 and for the men in 2007.

His knowledge for the sport and coaching talent has been essential in the Tigers success in the pool. He has led Dalhousie athletes to over 20 CIS championship podium finishes including multi-year medalists David Sharpe (3 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) and Kiera Aitken (2 silver, 1 bronze). In 2004, he joined Bermuda’s Olympic swim team coaching staff to coach Kiera at the summer games in Athens, Greece.

When David retired as Dalhousie’s head coach, he said, "I felt the time was right. I turned 60 this year and have been coaching for 40 years. I am very proud of my 30-year involvement with Dalhousie swimming, with 16 of those years as head coach. We have developed a tradition of excellence that I am confident will continue with the fine student-athletes that are currently on the team and those that will be here in the years to come."

Those at Dalhousie who know David have witnessed his dedication to the Tigers and the team’s success.

“We are tremendously saddened by the loss of David," says Tim Maloney, Dalhousie's director of varsity athletics. "His contributions to Dalhousie, the sport of swimming and our community leave an outstanding legacy. As a coach, mentor and friend, David set an example for all us to strive for.”

David was unable to stay away from the pool for long, returning to the Tigers coaching staff as a stroke coach the last couple of years in addition to taking the helm of Acadia’s swim teams as interim head coach last season.

After graduating from Acadia University with a BA and obtaining a BEd from Queen’s University, David began his coaching career in 1973. He received an MA in Coaching Science from Lakehead University in 1977 and a law degree from Dalhousie’s law school in 1998. A previous chair of the Nova Scotia Swim Coaches Association, David has been a level 1 and 2 coaching certification instructor for over 15 years. In 1981 and 1997 he was head coach for the Nova Scotia Canada Games teams and in 1984 he led the Canadian national junior team to the national championships in Scotland. Aside from coaching, David was a teacher for 35 years.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Oct 31st at 2pm at the Dalhousie University Club.


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