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ULM Swimming & Diving Coach John Pittington Passes Away
21-year ambassador was 54
March 31st, 2004
MONROE — The Louisiana-Monroe Athletic family received sad news Wednesday morning of the death of Head Swimming and Diving Coach John Pittington, who passed away Tuesday night from an apparent heart attack at his home in Start.
"The University of Louisiana at Monroe has experienced a tremendous loss with the passing of John "Pitt" Pittington," said ULM Athletic Director Bruce Hanks. "He has been a tremendous ambassador for our university for 21 years and he touched the lives of so many people in so many ways."

ULM President James Cofer said "John Pittington was more than a coach; he was a leader and mentor for hundreds of student athletes. He will be sorely missed."

Pittington served as coach of the Indian Swimming and Diving Program since 1983-84 and is one of the most respected swimming coaches in the nation. A three-time national Independent Conference Coach of the Year, Pittington built the ULM swim program and also helped form the Indian Aquatic Club.

"He had a major impact on my life and career," said ULM assistant coach Eric Elliott. "I knew him for only a short time but you could see the affect he had on everyone around him."

He compiled a 166-114 men's swimming record and a 99-131-1 women's record at the helm of the ULM Swimming and Diving program. In 1994, Pittington guided the Indians to their best ever record of 13-2, including a second-place finish at the National Independent Championships. He led the Tribe to a 16-3 record and a third-place finish at the NIC meet in 1998. Zita Zalai became the first individual Sun Belt Conference champion under Pittington, winning the 100 and 200-Butterfly events in ULM's second season as a SBC member.

"He was a great coach to swim for in and out of the pool," ULM swimmer Sean McConathy said. "Even when he wasn't coaching he would do what ever he could to help anyone one that needed help."

Pittington originally from Allentown, Pa., attended the University of South Carolina on a swimming scholarship. He was successful in the water as well as in the classroom. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1969, and furthered his education by receiving a Master's of Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1971.

Pittington is survived by his wife Brenda with three daughters Tracey, Paige and Kayley and two sons Brandon and Ryan.

Visitation is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. at the Mulhearn Funeral Home in Rayville. Memorial services are Friday at 1 p.m. behind the Alumni Center. The Family requests that all donations be made to the John Pittington Memorial Scholarship Fund in lieu of flowers.

<a href='http://swimming.sunbeltsports.org/x/article/2851' target='_blank'>http://swimming.sunbeltsports.org/x/article/2851</a>
My prayers are with the entire Pittington family, and the entire ULM family. I actually know someone who is on the swimming and diving team right now at ULM. Losing someone close is not easy. Once again, my deepest sympathies are with the Pittington's.

R.I.P. John "Pitt" Pittington
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