Dr. Ralph Wheeler named honorary chair for AUS Championship

(Feb. 5, 2014) ST. JOHN’S, N.L. - – Memorial University is proud to announce that former Memorial swimmer and varsity coach, as well as long-time professor, Ralph Wheeler, will serve as the honorary chair of the 2014 Subway AUS Swimming Championships.

Dr. Ralph Wheeler


This prestigious annual event will be hosted by Memorial University for the first time in 30 years, this coming Friday to Sunday at the Aquarena in St. John’s, N.L. An AUS champion himself, and four-time CIS swimmer during his athletic career at Memorial, Wheeler was awarded with the university’s highest athletic honour – the Athletic Honour Society. This prominent award is granted to recipients that make an outstanding contribution to the athletics program and its students, both by athletic participation and by actions that enhance the overall good of athletics.


Following his swimming career and completion of his Bachelor of Physical Education, Wheeler became the first full time Technical Director for Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1977 he joined the government’s Department of Recreation and Sport while continuing to coach at a number of St. John’s swim clubs. In his time with the province, he coordinated the National Coaching Certification Program where he was instrumental in establishing formal coaching education programs across all sports, all while completing a Masters in Physical Education at Memorial.


In 1983, Wheeler returned to his alma mater and joined the School of Physical Education and Athletics, assuming the role of swimming head coach. His men’s team saw great success and won four consecutive AUS Championships, and ranked as high as fifth at the CIS Championships.


Though Coach Wheeler took a sabbatical leave from his position in 1997 to pursue a Ph. D, his presence would continue to be felt. In fact, he was responsible for suggesting the new varsity team name and logo in 1994, the Memorial Sea~Hawks, which is still in place today.


Professor Wheeler continues to play a significant role at Memorial, specifically in the development of a strong physical education preparation program within the faculty’s graduate program. A passionate fly fisherman, he has been known to ‘disappear’ for weeks at a time into the Labrador wilderness, chasing the king of sport fish – the Atlantic salmon.


As honorary chair, Dr. Wheeler will be on campus throughout the weekend in a number of capacities. On Thursday evening he will speak directly to all participants at the championship banquet, and will partake in the awards presentations on closing night.


Memorial’s Manager of Athletics, John Harvey, was pleased that the Division of Athletics was able to recognize the significant contribution Dr. Wheeler has made to the university and the sport of swimming.


He said, “Dr. Wheeler has been an outstanding builder of the sport of swimming at Memorial and in our province. We are pleased that he is acting as our honorary chair for the championship and wish to express our sincere gratitude for his contributions to our athletic program.”


The 2014 Subway AUS swimming championship will be free for the community with the official program and heat sheets costing $5 for the weekend.


The event will be webcast live at www.AUStv.ca



Friday, Feb. 7

10 a.m. – Preliminaries

5:50 p.m. - Opening ceremonies

6 p.m. - Finals


Saturday, Feb. 8

10 a.m. - Preliminaries

6 p.m. - Finals


Sunday, Feb. 9

10 a.m. - Preliminaries

6 p.m. - Finals

8 p.m. - Closing ceremonies and major awards presentations





Written by Whitney O'Byrne | Special Project Coordinator | Division of Athletics