25 March 2019, 08:57am
Oklahoma Baptist Head Swim Coach, Sam Freas, passed away after celebrating his 73rd birthday last Saturday on March 23.
Freas attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated from Springfield College with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He did Ph.D. degree studies at Iowa before earning a doctor of education degree from California Western.
He coached the Republic of South Africa’s swim team in the Olympics, has been the head coach at Arkansas (84-14 duel meet record), Hawaii (40-0) and Louisiana State (61-9), SUNY-Potsdam and Allegheny College (64-12 dual meet record).
While at Arkansas, he was president of the College Swim Coaches Association, and a member of the US Olympic Committee. In 1982, he was selected to visit the Peoples Republic of China as “Swim Ambassador”.
Dr. Freas became President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2004.
In 2011, Freas was named the first head coach of the newly-created Oklahoma Baptist swimming & diving program winning every NAIA men’s title while the women placed 2nd in 2012 and then won 3-straight titles thereafter. Since then the team moved to Division II of the NCAA. In 2018 at the Division II NCAA Championships, the men’s and women’s programs both placed 5th in their debuts.
Freas is the author of many books and leaves his wife Rosemary, four children, and six grandchildren.
Sam enjoyed time at Ak-O-mak in the 70's