Aug. 27, 2007
BERKELEY, CALIF. - David Durden, a former top assistant at Auburn who for the last two seasons has guided the University of Maryland's men's and women's swimming and diving teams, has been hired to direct the men's swimming program at the University of California, Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour announced Monday. Durden replaces Hall of Fame coach Nort Thornton, who retired in July after 33 years at the helm of Golden Bear swimming. Thornton will remain involved in the men's swimming program as a volunteer assistant.
"I am obviously thrilled to be named the head coach of the California men's swimming program," said Durden. "I am ready and anxious to be a part of what Nort Thornton has created at Cal. I have a philosophy that a team is only as strong as the last man on the roster, and I look forward to cultivating and fostering an awesome team environment."
Durden, 31, was hired as head coach of the Terrapins' combined swimming and diving program on August 18, 2005, after spending five seasons at Auburn, including his last year at the SEC school when he was the assistant head men's coach for the 2005 NCAA champion Tigers. Prior to being the No. 1 assistant and chief recruiting coordinator for the powerhouse Auburn men's team, he was an assistant coach for both the Tigers' men's and women's swim programs. During his tenure, the Tiger men's and women's teams won a total of six NCAA team championships - the men winning in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the women winning in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The Auburn women finished second at the national meet in 2005.
At Auburn, Durden was the primary coach for a number of world-class/postgraduate swimmers who were preparing for the World Championships and the World University Games. He mentored multiple world and NCAA record holders, and in 2004 coached three swimmers who represented the United States in the Olympic Games - Mark Gangloff, Bryce Hunt and Margaret Hoelzer. Durden also served as the head coach for the Panama team at the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 Pan American Games.
"David is a perfect fit to carry on the legacy of athletic and academic excellence that has been so prevalent in the program built by Nort Thornton over the past three-plus decades," said Barbour. "Not only do I believe David will be a fabulous success, but I am thrilled that a person of such character and integrity will be providing leadership for the young men in our program. He has extensive experience coaching some of the nation's elite collegiate and international swimmers."
"I was impressed with David and look forward to working with him," said Thornton. "He is sharp and I am really pleased someone of his caliber has decided to come aboard. Working at Auburn he has certainly been around world-class athletes. Everyone in the coaching community I have talked to recommended him highly. He has a lot of tools he can bring to the program."
In 2007, Durden helped the Maryland women to a sixth-place finish, and the men to an eighth-place finish, at the Atlantic Coast Conference meet. During 2005-06, the Maryland women's team took fifth at the ACC championships, and senior Sasha Malanina was an ACC champion in the 400 individual medley.
Durden is a NCAA Division I Certified Coach, a member of U.S. Swimming and a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association. For the past five years, he has been involved with the swim camps at Auburn, serving as the camp director in 2004 and 2005. Before coaching at Auburn, Durden served as an assistant for the highly regarded Irvine Novaquatics under Dr. Dave Salo, where he assisted in general coaching with the Olympic Trials Group and helped place four swimmers on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team.
A 1998 graduate of UC Irvine, Durden earned a degree in electrical engineering. He competed on the Anteaters' swim team from 1994-97 and was the 1997 Big West Conference champion in the 200 butterfly.