A native of Kenosha, Wis., Jeff Dugdale took over the reins of the Queens University of Charlotte Men’s and Women’s Swimming in the summer of 2010. Prior to joining the Royals, he assisted Head Coach David Marsh of SwimMAC Carolina with all aspects of running Team Elite whose members include Olympian Cullen Jones and record holders Nick Brunelli, Nick Thoman, and Josh Schneider.
During his 12+ years at Queens University, the Royals’ swim program has enjoyed tremendous success under Dugdale’s guidance. Most recently, both the men’s and women’s swimming programs emerged victorious at the 2022 NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships securing their seventh straight title each.
Throughout his coaching career, Dugdale has served as the USA National Team Coach, is a Nine-Time CSCAA Coach of the Year, a 12-Time Bluegrass Mountain Conference Coach of the Year, and the 2019 Jimi Flowers Coach of the Year. His teams have won a combined 14 Team NCAA Championships and 124 Individual NCAA Championships. Queens swimming has had four athletes compete across three Olympic games (London, Rio, Tokyo) and one compete in two Paralympic Games (Rio, Tokyo).
A friend of Competitor, Jeff recently sat down with us for a chat about his professional career, his life outside of the pool, and his advice for young coaches just starting their careers.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
What I am most proud of is the ability to recognize a system that worked at Auburn with David Marsh and then implement it with a few adjustments to the unique qualities of Queens and get the same results. I use this example often to demonstrate that efficient and effective leadership is not to reinvent the wheel but to take and maximize what is working. I am very proud of this.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
My goal was to build an aquatic-centric university that valued the Olympic Games and the process behind that movement. The development process includes leveraging teams, conference championships, and NCAA championships. Still, those are secondary to what great looks like and that is the visibility of having swimmers represent their country and raise their flag.
What do you do for fun?
Fun for me is cooking, watching my two girls thrive, and taking long drives to new places with my wife.
What advice would you pass along to a young coach?
No matter what good looks like, be patient and work smart, and avoid insulting the process towards great.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the family that we have built in Queens. They communicate early and often, they trust enough to share success and failures, they are eager to support each other through time, talent or treasure and they say I love you before hanging up. That is family.
Tell us about your family.
I have a 24-year-old daughter, Sydney, who is a Queens graduate and is thriving in the corporate world. I love our conversations about work and about adulting, and I can’t help but smile at how independent she is. I can’t wait to continue to be her biggest cheerleader in life.
Colby, my 21-year-old daughter, will be a Senior this year at Queens. She has played in three Final Four championships in lacrosse for Queens, finishing 2nd her sophomore year. Christine and I love watching her and her team play and have enjoyed her growth this summer while interning in Human Resources.
My wife, Christine, is the head of global human resources for a company in Charlotte that has headquarters in Switzerland. I enjoy the end of the day when we can talk about the many cultures we impact either through expansion, recruiting, celebration, etc… Christine and I love to laugh, we are foodies and are so proud of the support system that we have built around us.
If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
What are 3 words you would use with your team to teach and guide them?
Leaders for Life