For more than three decades, Mike Rawleigh guided the Gettysburg College men’s and women’s swimming programs to unprecedented heights in the pool and now his legacy will continue on following his retirement as head coach with the establishment of The Michael K. Rawleigh Endowed Fund for Swimming.
Rawleigh announced his retirement soon after the close of the 2018-19 season. In his 34 years at the helm, he guided the men’s and women’s teams to a total of 42 conference titles and more than 20 appearances on the national stage.
A group of impassioned alumni led by Kelly Brennan Keane ’00, Missy West Adler ’01, Liz Janelle Hall ’03, and Greg Pinchbeck ’90 spearheaded the charge to establish the MKR Endowed Fund, which will help support future generations of Bullets as they seek to maintain the program’s long history of success.
“This fund will provide continuous support each year for the men’s and women’s swim teams,” said Keane, who was an eight-time All-American and 2012 Hall of Athletic Honor inductee. “These funds will be used to help alleviate the cost individual swimmers incur in order to participate in team training trips and other training activities.”
The goal for the endowment is $150,000, which would provide approximately $7,500 each year to the teams. The fund is already well within its goal having climbed to over $112,000 heading into the week.
“I want to thank all of the swimming alums, former and current parents, and supporters for their generosity,” said Executive Director for Athletics and Campus Recreation Mike Mattia. “It is another example of the type of impact Mike had on the lives of those he coached.”
Under Rawleigh’s guidance, Gettysburg won a combined 548 dual meets and 90 percent of its conference competitions. The women won 15-straight conference titles from 1986 to 2000, while the men won 10-straight crowns from 1990 to 1999. Rawleigh’s 42 league championships account for one-quarter of all the team championships earned by the institution as a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference and Centennial Conference over the last 90 years.
A six-time CC Coach of the Year between the two programs, the native of High Point, N.C., coached the Bullets to 118 All-America finishes with 1992 graduate Lynne Cassidy claiming a pair of national titles in the 500-yard freestyle in 1990 and 1991. The women’s team produced four consecutive national top-10 finishes from 1988-89 to 1991-92, finishing as high as eighth twice, while the men’s team secured a program-best 12th-place showing in both 1998 and 2015.
For Rawleigh, a student’s desire to come to Gettysburg was much more than just swimming. He gave free range to his athletes to look for opportunities away from the pool. As a result, the swim programs have maintained a high rate of retention and a high level of academic success. Both men’s and women’s programs are regular members of the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Teams.
“I wanted them to have a full college experience,” said Rawleigh shortly after announcing his retirement. “It wasn’t always best for their swimming career, but I wasn’t going to deny them the opportunities the College had to offer if they wanted to explore them.”
Throughout his long tenure at Gettysburg, Rawleigh coached alongside his wife, Cami, who is also the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Wilson College. The two were staples on the pool deck for more than three decades and established close relationships with their student-athletes that have withstood the test of time.
Last Saturday, more than 150 former student-athletes, parents, and staff members joined Mike, Cami, and daughters Francesca and Mia to celebrate the programs’ successes and announce the establishment of the MKR Fund.