UNITY — Jeremy Organ, a swimming coach with Unity ties, was inducted into the University of North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame Sept. 29. He is the grandson of prominent Unity resident and veteran Cecil Hayward, who passed away in 2015.
Organ spent his summers at Atton’s Lake and once donned his “Speedos” to swim across the lake and back with this grandfather rowing beside him in a canoe to a crowd watching on the beach.
Organ is currently head coach for women’s swimming at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. His mother is Shirley (Hayward) Organ.
Organ will be a 2022 hall of fame recipient for the Tom Clifford Award at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. After graduation, Organ stayed with North Dakota to become head assistant coach from 1996-2000. He helped establish the swimming strength and conditioning program while also supervising student athletes’ academic progress and implementing community service programs. He also served as head coach for the Forks area swim team and during that time garnered North Dakota Age Group Coach of the Year honours both in 1998 and 1999.
Growing up in Canada, swimming was not of great interest to Organ. Instead, his sport of choice, like many Canadians, was played on top of a frozen body of water, not in it. He was part of junior hockey out of home province, British Columbia.
“I looked at a couple of places in Saskatchewan, where I was born, about playing there,” Organ said. “I went out for a tryout and realized that I didn’t really feel like doing this. We went back home to Cranbrook.”
That would be the end of Organ’s hockey career, and it would lead to the start of his swimming career.
By the end of his first year in the sport of swimming he made the provincial championships, which is the equivalent of the state championships in the United States. He progressed enough that as a senior he knew he wanted to continue swimming in college.
“I had looked at a number of colleges in Canada and was probably going to swim somewhere in Canada,” Organ said.
But when one of his coaches at Cranbrook heard he desired to continue swimming in college, she placed a call to Mike Stromberg who she had swam for at North Dakota.
His journey through the coaching ranks took him from college to the club ranks and back to college, and it is the college level that he finds most enjoyable.
(written from files from Vanderbuilt University Commodores)