Al Neuschaefer (USA)
Honor Coach (1967)
FOR THE RECORD: His Trenton , N.J. High School team won 17 Eastern Interscholastic Championships, 19 New Jersey State titles, and the Rutgers Invitational twice; Secretary-Treasurer of NISCA (National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) for 26 years; NISCA liaison to College Swim Coaches Association; first Secretary-Treasurer of Ft. Lauderdale College Swim Coaches Forum Committee; former commissioner and Vice President of the New Jersey AAU..
Al Neuschaefer did not start out in swimming, but he is first, last and always a coach–so when he moved over from football to swimming and diving, his success story was uninterrupted. He enters the Hall of Fame as the first great long-term high school swimming coach, representative of the U.S. Phenomenon of High School coaches and high school swimmers who make such a major contribution to this country’s #1 position as a world swimming power.
Newschaefer began his coaching career as head football coach at Iowa Wesleyan (1920), was player-coach of the Stapleton L. I. (later the New York Giants) where his greatest player was Ken Strong. For 8 years he was head line coach at Rutgers after school hours, while teaching at Trenton, N.J. High School. When the high school issued an ultimatum to coach high school, he chose swimming, not football, so he could continue moonlighting at Rutgers in the Fall. He eventually dropped the football but not the swimming and Trenton became the first geographical capitol of high school swimming. On retirement 27 years later, in 1960, no high school swim coach in the U.S. had a better record, although the geographical capitol of high school swimming had moved to Michigan, then Illinois, and now California.
Neuschaefer’s team won 17 Eastern Interscholastic Championships during a period when this meet was the nearest substitute we had for a High School Nationals. His team also won 19 New Jersey State titles and twice won the Rutgers Invitational in years when this meet included both high schools and the mighty 1-2-3 of pre-war prep school squads from Mercersburg, Blair and Massanutten.
The best testimonial to his national coaching record is here reprinted from the newspaper of Trenton’s arch rival, the “Battle Creek (Michigan) Inquirer” of March 16, 1943: “In an effort to determine just how Battle Creek has ranked among 200-odd high schools of the nation, where swimming is a major sport, the Inquirer went through the guides year by year. Ten points were allotted to each school that placed a swimmer in the #1 spot in any of the individual; 9 points for #2, etc. Because there were five relays, the #1 relay received 10 points, #2 received 8 points, etc. And here is what the study revealed. Battle Creek has the third highest in the nation. The score of the three leaders — Trenton, NJ. (204); Lane Tech, Chicago (193); Battle Creek (156). But in total placements, Battle Creek is second: Trenton, N.J. (38); Battle Creek (32); Lane Tech, Chicago (28); Long Beach, California (28).”
“Neusch” was the “Mike Peppe” of high school coaches in that his success as a swimming coach has been exceeded only by his success as a diving coach. In addition to being the #1 high school coach of his day, Neuschaefer has been a leading organizer and administrator of high school swimming and principal liaison with the College Coaches Association for many years. He was Secretary-Treasurer of NISCA for 26 years. He was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Ft. Lauderdale College Coaches Forum Committee and has been a member of the Forum Executive Committee since its inception. He has also been on the Board of Directors of the Swimming Hall of Fame since its inception. He is a former commissioner and Vice President of the New Jersey AAU. One of his best swimmers, Dick Hough, set world records and dominated world breaststroke 3 years. Highlight of Neuschaefer’s career was 1942 when graduates of his high school team captained Cornell, Dartmouth and Princeton the same year.