NEWVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – When Les Stover started coaching the Big Spring Swimming & Diving team in the fall of 1982, he was 22 years old, only a few years older than some of his players. Now, he’s much older, but Stover says he’ll never grow up.
“I believe in the philosophy of the Peter Pan theory of life. I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up.”
Though Stover may not being growing up, he is moving on. This is his last year as the head coach of the Bulldogs. In his 36 seasons he’s transformed the program from a shallow roster swimming in the shallow end of a 5-lane pool at the old middle school, to one of the largest swimming and diving teams in the district.
“The relationship with your swimmers is more important than just times and winning”, says Assistant Coach Greg Walker, who’s just a year older than Stover was his first season at Big Spring, “building a bond with the swimmers and athletes is how he makes the biggest impact.”
The Bulldogs have a chance to win one more state title before Stover’s career is over. Shannon McCabe won a silver medal in the AA Diving State Championships last year. Gold is on her mind, and so is Coach Les.
“He’s always there. He puts a lot of time in. I can always go to him, which is wonderful.”