Local honoured for coaching excellence in U.S.
The University of North Dakota (UND) Alumni Association & Foundation has announced Cranbrook-born-and-raised Jeremy Organ has been selected to its Sports Hall of Fame.
The former Cranbrook Tritons swimmer who swam to acclaim at UND received the Tom Clifford Award, which recognizes alumni who serve as athletics coaches at the high school or collegiate level and have been notably successful in their sport—by the UND Letterwinners Association.
A six-time All-American in North Dakota, Organ was named the North Central Conference Swimmer of the Year in 1995 before going on to earn his undergraduate degree in physical education the following year at the University of North Dakota.
After graduation, Organ stayed with North Dakota to become head assistant coach from 1996 to 2000. He helped establish the swimming strength and conditioning program while also supervising student-athletes’ academic progress and implementing community service programs.
While working as a coach at UND, Organ also served as the head coach for the Forks Area Swim Team, and during that time he garnered North Dakota Age Group Coach of the Year honours in 1998 and ’99.
Organ is now entering his 17th season as the head swimming coach at Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee.
Since taking charge after the reinstatement of the program in 2006, his student-athletes have set school records in every event while performing at a high level in the classroom.
Eight swimmers have been CSCAA Scholar All-Americans over the past seven seasons, and 71 have been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll on 160 occasions since the 2011–12 campaign. And Organ has guided the Commodores to a record of .500 or better in dual meets for four of the last five seasons.
That included leading Vandy to victories in five of seven meets in 2021–22 as both Kailia Utley and Faith Knelson recorded NCAA B Standard times, with the former advancing to finals in the 200-yard butterfly at the SEC Championships before going on to compete in three events at the CSCAA National Independent Championship. In total, 13 other individuals met NIC A or B Standards throughout the winter, while Utley won the 100- and 200-yard butterfly finals to pace a group of 11 swimmers who would qualify for A finals at the Miami Invitational.
Following the conclusion of the season, 20 student-athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Organ’s leadership was never more evident than during the pandemic season of 2020–21, when he worked to get the Commodores several competition opportunities in a limited campaign while keeping the safety and well-being of the student-athletes a top priority. Despite the challenges facing the program, 20 Dores made the SEC Academic Honor Roll at the end of the year.
In 2019–20, Organ helped lead the Dores to a 6-6 overall record. At the mid-season TYR ’85 Invite, several swimmers earned podium finishes and notched personal- and season-best times as Vandy finished third in the team standings. At the 2020 SEC Championships, the Commodores tabbed 14 personal records and a new school standard in the 100-yard breaststroke to conclude the season, while out of the pool 21 student-athletes—the most in program history—were on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
After bringing in a strong freshman class, Organ and the Commodores recorded a 6-4 overall mark during the 2018–19 campaign. Multiple swimmers posted season- and personal-best times at the Houston Invite before wrapping up the campaign setting a new school record in the 100 backstroke and multiple freshman records at the 2019 SEC Championships. In addition, 15 individuals were on the SEC Academic Honor Roll at the end of the year.
Under his direction, multiple swimmers took the podium at the Phil Hansel Invitational in 2017–18 before going on to set personal bests and school records at the SEC Championships and the CSCAA National Invitational Championship en route to a 4-4 finish. That came after the Dores set a pair of school standards to the SEC Championships the previous winter, with Vandy placing a double-figure total on the SEC Academic Honor Rolls both seasons.
Organ led the Commodores to a school-record 10 dual-meet victories during the 2014–15 campaign before breaking eight program records at the SEC Championships, with five freshman standards falling that winter as well. Vandy finished with an 8-7 mark under his guidance in 2015–16—the first time since the program was resurrected in 2006 that the Dores achieved back-to-back winning seasons—highlighted by six school records set by members of a second-year recruiting class, while all four freshmen contributed at the league meet.
Organ’s team broke 14 school records at the 2013 SEC Championships, only to see the group outdo that performance by setting 15 new standards at the event the following winter, as six individuals posted NCAA B-cut times.
After rebuilding the program from scratch beginning in 2006, Organ led the Dores to their first dual-meet victory in more than 15 years after sweeping Centre (Ky.) and Rhodes (Tenn.) in October 2008. Vandy added defeats of Centenary and Marshall the following season, with another win over Marshall’s Thundering Herd coming during the 2010–11 campaign. His squad picked up a pair of victories in dual meets the next winter before setting multiple program records at the SEC Championships.
Before coming to Vanderbilt, Organ served as the senior assistant coach of the Nashville Aquatic Club, one of swimming’s most competitive club teams. While coaching the NAC, Organ mentored six national championship qualifiers in addition to assisting 20 swimmers earn Division I scholarships. He also served as the senior coach at the Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club. While in Pensacola, he helped produce several national qualifiers and national age group top-16 swimmers.
In addition to those performances, he helped the GPAC nearly double the members of the senior swim program in just two years, while the NAC program grew to more than 300 swimmers in his time with the organization.
Organ is married to the former Margaret Davidson. They have two daughters, Ella and Kathryn Rose, and are the owners of two dogs, Nash and Napa.
The Hall of Fame banquet will be held on Friday, September 30 at the Alerus Center (Grand Forks, North Dakota).
Images courtesy Vanderbilt University
With files from Vanderbilt/e-KNOW