Jim Stover retired from Baylor in 2017 as such a beloved English faculty member and revered administrator that it could be easily forgotten that he came to Baylor in 1976 as a teacher and as a swimming coach. Taking over from the founder of the Baylor swim program, Hall of Fame member Stanley Lewis, Stover quickly catapulted the program onto the national scholastic swimming scene.
During Coach Stover’s six-year tenure, Baylor swimmers set the standard for success by garnering 49 individual Prep All-American awards and 15 Division I college scholarships and winning the team title at the Eastern Interscholastic Championships. In both 1979 and 1980, the Baylor team was ranked second in the country by Swimming World Magazine. Notable achievements from that era included several individual and relay Junior National Championships and records, two national prep records, and one national age group record. Stover also coached Baylor’s most well-known swimmer, Geoff Gaberino ’80, who was world-ranked while at Baylor and won a Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as part of the U.S. 800 meter freestyle relay team.
Stover was the creator of the Baylor Swim Club in 1977, formed as a senior team of mostly Baylor swimmers to allow those athletes to participate in more competitions. The club was later expanded to include all age groups and has been valuable as a feeder to the Baylor swim program.