Minnesota high school coaching legend Art Downey has retired after 62 years coaching the Edina High School boys program. Downey is the only head coach in Edina swimming history and his teams won 10 state titles.
Edina Head Coach Art Downey retired today. The only Head Coach our Boys’ Swim & Dive program has ever had. His passion and dedication to our program made us great. Forever a #Hornet #Legend pic.twitter.com/LdItytLn8b
— Edina Hornets (@edinahornets) May 18, 2018
Downey was hired in 1956 and has become a staple of the Minnesota high school swimming scene. For his 50th season coaching, Downey was honored with a bobblehead made in his likeness at the state swim meet. For his 55th season, Downey was honored with a standing ovation from the state meet crowd and his colleagues handed out replicas of his signature black-framed glasses to teams on deck.
Downey famously refuses to give his real age in interviews, instead referring to himself as 28. In 2015, local newspaper the Star-Tribune reported on Downey coaching three generations of the same family. In that story, Downey could recall specific section and state finishes for both older generations, one from 1979-1980 and the other 1956-1957.
News of Downey’s retirement immediately brought out high accolades from a number of major Minnesota swimming names, including Olympic gold medalist David Plummer (who coached against Downey briefly in Minnesota’s Lake Conference) and University of Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer:
That means the best high school swimming scout out there is now on the market. Enjoy retirement Art! https://t.co/hcEzuQ1ztL
— David Plummer (@davideplummer) May 18, 2018
An amazing person, leader, educator, and Coach. Congratulations, Art! You set the standard for all of us! #Legend https://t.co/bKXuP0sIsB
— Kelly Kremer (@MNCoachKremer) May 18, 2018