The annual Ivy League women’s swimming championship trophy was named after him eight years before he retired. He was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame five years before he decided to stop coaching. Frank Keefe, Yale’s Robert J.H. Kiphuth Director of Swimming, who has 488 wins combined between the men’s and women’s teams, has certainly made an impression on the swimming community around the league and country.
Keefe has been the head coach of the Yale men’s team since 1978 and the women’s team since 1980. He completed his 32nd and final year with the Bulldogs in 2009-10.
Keefe successfully forged Yale Swimming's prestigious and illustrious past with his own unique drive for excellence and achievement. His undying commitment to the program and his sincere love of Yale Swimming was the driving force behind all the success.
“I grew-up in the New Haven area, and my father worked in the Physical Education Department. Yale has been family for my entire life,” Keefe said. “Over these past 30 years I have been blessed with more than 500 swimmers and divers who have graduated from Yale. I hope I was able to be a positive influence and a part of their experience. Yale is about people that strive to be the best at what they choose to be. It's been a wonderful experience and I am grateful to be part of the lives I had the opportunity to touch.”
Keefe, who earned a 2009 American Swimming Coaches Association Award of Excellence, is a two-time Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League Coach of the Year. He led the men’s team to an Ivy League title in 1991-92 and guided the women’s team to five Ivy crowns, including undefeated seasons in 1992-93 and 1996-97.
In addition to an extensive collegiate background, Keefe has plenty of international coaching experience. Keefe served as an assistant coach for the 1984 United States Olympic team at Los Angeles and was the head manager for the 1988 Olympic team at Seoul. He also served as the U.S. coach for the 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games and as an assistant coach at the 1978 World Championships.
Before starting at Yale, Keefe had already coached nine Olympic swimmers, including gold medalist Carl Robie and silver medalist Tim McKee. More recently, he coached George Gleason ’00 and Stephen Fahy ’00 to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Keefe, a 1960 graduate of Villanova, is a member both Wildcats’ and state of Pennsylvania Halls of Fame. He is a native of East Haven, Conn., where he is also was enshrined in its Hall of Fame. Keefe and his wife, Kathleen, have four children.