The recipient of this week's Ben's Bell is Frank Busch, coach of the University of Arizona swimming and diving teams.
He was nominated by several swimmers he's coached during his 22 seasons at the UA. One former teammate, Bobby Koubratoff, said Busch "always treated each and every one of us like one of his own. He encouraged us to not only help ourselves, and our team through school and swim, but also the community as a whole.
"Every year we had team community-service events that we participated in, and he really impressed upon us the sense of how truly blessed we were and that we should give back to our community."
Said Busch: "I really believe my responsibility is far more reaching than just being a coach. It's important for me to teach young people to grow, because when you grow, all sorts of things happen - you become a better athlete for sure, but you also become a better person. I think it's our job (as coaches) to transform great young people into great adults."
Under Busch's leadership, the UA team won two NCAA championships and produced 42 Olympians. He is a six-time NCAA Coach of the Year, and he earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year 11 times. While at the UA, Busch also has coached national teams at the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Games and the World University Games during his years at Arizona.
He "made the program one of the premiere programs in the country and helped countless swimmers achieve great things," said current team member Austen Thompson.
Recently, Busch announced he was leaving the UA to take a job as director of USA Swimming in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he will administer the men's and women's Olympic swimming programs and all other USA Swimming national teams. He was surprised with the Ben's Bell at his farewell party.
The bell, he said, "is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can't wait to put it in my home and see it every day. Honest to goodness, I was so moved because I know the story so well." His swimmers also have volunteered their time making bells.
Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at email@example.com or at 573-4191.