Coach Don Gambril's move to Tuscaloosa, Ala., will launch the Crimson Tide of Alabama on a new wave of national prominence and power in the sport of swimming.
"We won the SEC's [Southeastern Conference] all sports trophy this year but of all the sports our lowest finish came in swimming," Sports Information Director Charles Thornton said yesterday. "We want to be able to compete in all sports on a national level and the addition of Gambril is a step in that direction."
Gambril was recommended for his new position by former Tide coach John Foster, professor of Aquatics at Alabama, after the former visited Alabama last year to attend a swimming clinic. Foster is stepping down to devote all his available time to his teaching responsibilities in the water safety and aquatics division of the physical education department.
The 55-year-old veteran coach of 14 seasons with the Tide ended his career with a fourth place finish in the conference this year.
This past season Alabama swam in 12 dual meets and four relay competitions, facing during the dual meet season such powers as Indiana, Tennessee, and Florida. The possibility of more topflight competition for the Tide is strictly up to Gambril.
"Here at Alabama we give a coach his own program to run and he has full control over it," Thornton said. "He hasn't signed yet but he'll be here Friday to take care of that. I have no earthly idea the exact terms of his contract but I know the budget allotted to his program by the University Athletics Committee will be close to $80,000."
Rides and Half-Rides
Gambril will also have at his disposal the use of five full scholarship-equivalents for swimming. In other words, he may give five swimmers full rides each year or choose to give, for example, three individuals full rides, two swimmers half scholarships and four athletes quarter scholarships. The funds can be dished out in any combination that is equal to or less than five whole scholarships for any one year as long as it is divided up among less than ten swimmers.