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Jon Urbanchek, former University of Michigan swim coach, dies at 87

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(CBS DETROIT) - Jon Urbanchek, an iconic swimming coach who spent time leading the Wolverines and Olympians, has died. He was 87.

He died late Thursday in Fullerton, California, surrounded by family members, according to Michigan's swimming and diving program.

Urbanchek was the head coach of the University of Michigan's men's swimming and diving program from 1982 to 2004 and led the team to the 1995 NCAA championship and 13 Big Ten titles within 22 seasons. Under his leadership, the program won 10 straight conferences from 1986-95. 

Urbanchek also served as the head coach for the World Championship team in 1994 and 1998 and was a U.S. Olympic swim coach in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. He was a special assistant in 2008 and 2012. 

"All told, Urbanchek coached 44 Olympians to more than 20 medals, including 11 gold, six silver, and four bronze medals in five overall Olympic Games, counting four world record holders among his coaching achievements," the university said. "Among those Olympians were an astounding 26 from U-M alone, with 10 of those combining for 17 medals."

His Olympic medalists include Mike Barrowman, Gustavo Borges, Tom Dolan, Brent Lang and Peter Vanderkaay.

"Jon's unwavering belief in people made him a master at inspiring others to recognize and achieve their potential," Lang said. "He transformed the pool into a classroom, teaching life's most valuable lessons and leaving a lasting impact on countless lives, both in the water and beyond."

The former coach immigrated from Hungry in 1956. He enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he helped the swim team win national titles in 1959 and 1961. 

He was known for his fun personality and was even featured in a YouTube video the 2012 U.S. Olympic team posted of them lip-syncing to "Call Me Maybe" by Carley Rae Jepsen, which received 18 million views. 

"People come into our life for a moment, a day, or a lifetime," said Matt Bowe, University of Michigan men's and women's swimming and diving head coach. "It matters not the time they spent with you but how they impacted your life in that time. Urby was a person who made an immediate and positive impact on people's lives."

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