A Coaching Work of Art

Edina High School boys swimming coach Art Downey is worth more than his win-rich resume.

As a former athlete, I hold few professions in higher esteem than a good coach.

Sure, doctors, scientists, humanitarians and countless others are vital to society, but a good coach often stands behind those professionals.

Art Downey, Edina’s boys swimming coach for the last 56 years, stands behind thousands of successful men.

With 19 conference championships, 14 sections crowns and 10 state titles, his resume is stacked with winning. But as former and current players say, Downey is the same coach to the slowest swimmers as he is to the fastest ones.

His goal isn’t winning; that’s ancillary. His goal is creating gentlemen.

“Almost everyone in Edina sports or Edina alum knows him,” says Mitch Lentz, a senior captain on this year’s Hornets team. “He’s such a class guy.”

A former superintendent, a fellow coach, a swimmer from the 1960s and Lentz share their impressions and stories of Dean Downey in the February issue of Edina Magazine. Read it online at edinamag.com starting February 1.