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Coach and daughter bring new attitude to MU swimming team

Thursday, January 27, 2011 | 11:00 p.m. CST; updated 5:11 p.m. CST, Monday, January 31, 2011
MU's new swim coach Greg Rhodenbaugh watches a heat during the Show-Me Showdown. It was his first meet as a head coach.

COLUMBIA — At this time last year, Missouri swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh was an assistant coach at the University of Arizona. His daughter Courtney Rhodenbaugh was a freshman swimmer at the University of Nebraska. Now both are at MU trying to change the program's culture.

Before accepting a job at MU, Greg Rhodenbaugh spent 11 years at Arizona, a school that boasts a winning tradition and won the 2008 NCAA men's championship. 

Courtney Rhodenbaugh lived with her father in Tucson, Ariz., for 10 years, but chose to attend Nebraska when it was time to go to college.

“Even though she never lived with what we did at Arizona, she saw it," Greg Rhodenbaugh said. "What that lifestyle is and that commitment to excellence.” 

That commitment is what Greg Rhodenbaugh has tried to instill at Missouri from the day he walked in the door.

“The difference between a championship team and a non-championship team is all about the attitude and dedication," Courtney Rhodenbaugh said. 

Greg Rhodenbaugh says that Missouri has always been a "pretty good conference team" but that there hasn't been an expectation of success at the NCAA championships. 

“Our goal is to score top 20," he said. "And then once we’ve done that our goal is to score top 10. It doesn’t all happen at once, but it's helpful to have people that have seen it.” 

Greg Rhodenbaugh revamped the coaching staff with people that have been around winning programs and also has his daughter bringing that attitude into the locker room. But Courtney Rhodenbaugh's presence was not something that he expected to have when he initially took the job at MU.

Courtney Rhodenbaugh quit the swimming team at Nebraska after last season and did not swim competitively for six months. But a few weeks before the season started, she got the itch to swim again.

“She called me and went, ‘What do I need to do to swim?’" Greg Rhodenbaugh said. "And I said, 'Get in shape.'”

The Rhodenbaughs went through the transfer process, and Courtney Rhodenbaugh got a release from Nebraska coach Pablo Morales, a friend of Greg Rhodenbaugh, to swim at Missouri. Nebraska does not normally allow its athletes to transfer within the conference.

“I’ve told all my kids that they can go where I am, and normally that’s a pretty good deal,” Greg Rhodenbaugh said. 

But Courtney Rhodenbaugh is not on scholarship at MU as she had been at Nebraska. And because her dad has not been at the university for five years, she gets no break on her tuition other than being allowed to immediately qualify for in-state tuition.

But for Greg Rhodenbaugh, having his daughter around helps in more ways than one.

“It's been fun having her around," he said. "She keeps things loose.” 

“I’m the only one that gets his sense of humor,” Courtney Rhodenbaugh said.


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