Bob Ogoreuc first read the quote about three types of individuals as a young swimmer and since then, he’s made it his mission to live life as one of the latter. From coaching to lifeguarding and drowning prevention advocacy, as an aquatics professional, Ogoreuc has done it all. But first and foremost, he is an educator. An assistant professor in the Physical Education Department at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University, he was a leader in shaping one of academia’s strongest formal aquatics programs. Today, he remains committed to helping train the next generation of industry leaders.
Outside of SRU, he serves as vice president and Education Committee chairman for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and, until retiring from the position in 2008, he was the training officer at the Ocean City (N.J.) Beach Patrol. He also co-developed curriculum for the New Jersey State Police Open Water Rescue for First Responders program.
Ogoreuc received a B.S. in health and physical education, with an emphasis in aquatic administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa. He counts Dr. Ralph Johnson, a coach, professor and aquatic director at IUP, as one of his mentors.
“I think Ralph mentored all of us,” Ogoreuc recalls.
In 1996, he earned a Master of Education degree in physical education and athletic administration from Slippery Rock University, where he was head swimming coach and aquatic director. As a coach, he achieved a record of 101-55-1; his teams recorded three undefeated seasons and included numerous All-Americans. He earned the 1997 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Men’s Coach of the Year, and last year was inducted into the SRU Hall of Fame.
Now his sole responsibility is academic. Ogoreuc left coaching in 2003 and shortly after that became instrumental in developing aquatics into a minor. As a university with a respected PE program, SRU always had aquatics courses, but it was Ogoreuc who helped put the pieces together to structure a formal program.
“We’re having a great deal of success,” he says, noting that since its inception, two new courses have been added. The aquatics minor attracts an average of 60 to 80 students who are majoring in a wide range of areas. Ogoreuc says he’s starting to see more individuals interested in parks and recreation, as well as law enforcement.
The SRU aquatics minor includes courses in adapted aquatics, lifeguarding and aquatic leadership, and gives students a chance to earn a Water Safety Instructor certification. But beyond the curriculum, Ogoreuc strives to instill a sense of passion in his students.
“Someone can come into the program and get hooked on the profession,” he says. “Hopefully, I’m leaving a footprint here. ...”