The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 6, 2013

Former West Virginia swimmer still winning at 77

MORGANTOWN — Dan “Cav” Cavanaugh, who grew up in Parkersburg, is individually the most honored swimmer in West Virginia University’s athletic history.

What’s even more absolutely amazing, the Brookville, Pa., native is still competing — and winning — in that sport at the age of 77. And Cav continues to excel in his age bracket (75-79) nationally.

Bill Wyant of Morgantown, a former teammate who presented Cavanaugh for induction into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, keeps in close touch with his long-time friend. And Wyant reports that the former Mountaineer marvel recently added to his growing list of victories.

Cavanaugh had a big day at the 2013 YMCA Masters National Swimming Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He won the 50 butterfly, 50 and 100 freestyler and 100 individual medley in his age bracket.

In that same meet in April, his 55-year-old wife, Debbie Cavanaugh, won the 100 and 200 backstroke, finished second in the 50 backstroke and 200 breaststroke and third in the 50 breaststroke in her age group (55-59).

Mrs. Cavanaugh coaches boys and girls swimming and diving, and water polo, at Fort Lauderdale High School. Her 400 freestyle relay team set a YMCA team record at that weekend meet.

Dan Cavanaugh, WVU’s first male swimmer to earn All-America status, was All-Southern Conference and is to be inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame.

He lettered at WVU from 1955-60, with two years off for time spent in U.S. military service.

Cavanaugh, who was the first West Virginia NCAA swimming qualifier, was dominant as a Mountaineer star. He was a two-time conference champion and team captain in 1959 and 1960.

After graduating in 1960, he became a highly successful teacher and coach, including a stint at the University of Miami. He developed numerous All-America swimmers, including his three sons.

As Cav grew older, he continued to capture more and more awards and honors. He set several world records.

He still holds the 100-meter record at 1:05.40 for the 70-75 age group.

Now a retired yacht sailboat captain, Dan and Debbie reside in Fort Lauderdale. Besides their three sons, they have six grandchildren.

Text Only
College Sports
  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

AP Video