Former head coach Dennis Stark

Irish To Honor Dennis Stark With Namesake Meet

Oct. 13, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team will begin the 2011-12 season Friday with the 47th edition of the Dennis Stark Relays. The men’s and women’s squads will compete alongside Oakland, Michigan, Valparaiso, Illinois State and Texas Christian at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

The meet begins at 5:00 p.m. (ET) with live results available at

“We could not be happier to begin each season with the Dennis Stark Relays, as it is always a pleasant reminder for our student-athletes of Coach Stark and everything he has done for the Notre Dame family,” Irish head coach Tim Welsh said.

A 1947 graduate of Notre Dame, Stark was the head coach of the Irish men’s program from 1958-85 and ended his career with a record of 167-137, including an 11-1 mark in 1974-75. Stark, whose student-athletes included Notre Dame’s first-ever NCAA qualifiers and six All-Americans, also headed the women’s program from 1981-85, compiling a 31-14 dual-meet record during his tenure. He was the 1984 women’s coach of the year in the North Star Conference.

Stark remains heavily involved in the Special Olympics program in the Northern Indiana area. He was the aquatics venue manager for the 1987 International Summer Olympics held in South Bend and was even honored by Special Olympics advocate Eunice Kennedy Shriver for his outstanding work.

He also earned the Harvey G. Foster Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and was recently presented the Russ Oliver Award honored his high ideals, dedication and service to youth athletics by the St. Joseph Valley Officials Association. The St. Joseph Valley Officials Association also awarded Stark with its Zebra Award in 2007.

Stark was selected to receive the Monogram Club’s highest honor in 2010, the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award. The award is given annually to a member of the Notre Dame family who has gone on to accomplish great achievement, which embody the spirit of the Monogram Club and the University. The award presentation took place in conjunction with the 2010 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival (April 16-17) in Sports Heritage Hall as part of the Monogram Club’s Annual Mass, Meeting & Dinner.

The native of Detroit, Mich., Stark and his wife, Angelina, have five children, three of which are Notre Dame graduates.

In his honor, the name of the Notre Dame Relays was officially changed to the “Dennis Stark Relays” on Nov. 22, 2003.

Stark will serve as the official starter for the meet.