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November 12, 2015

Obituary: Edward G. Bahan

BahanEdward G. Bahan, 54, head men’s and women’s swimming coach at Pitt-Bradford, died of a heart attack Nov. 5, 2015.

Born Dec. 2, 1960, in Mathuen, Massachusetts, he was a 1979 graduate of Salem High School and attended Penn State for a year before transferring to Pitt, where he received his BA in communication in 1984.

Bahan was a five-time U.S. national swimming competitor and a 1980 U.S. Olympic trial participant.

He was the assistant swim coach and the head strength coach at Carnegie Mellon University 1995-2002, where he took the men’s team to a fourth-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Division II national championships. He also was head coach of the Plum High School swim teams, 1996-1999, and the head swim coach at the Pittsburgh Tidalwaves Swim Club, 1999-2007.

Taking over the head swim coaching post at Bradford in 2007, just two years after the program was created, Bahan developed Panther teams that broke every school mark, establishing more than 200 records. Four members of his teams were named swimmer of the year by the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC), and Bahan was the men’s and women’s AMCC coach of the year five times. In his seven years he coached 46 all-conference performers.

Shailendra Gajanan, economics faculty member and chair of the Division of Management and Education at Bradford, swims often in the Bradford pool and knew Bahan well.

“I’m just a beginner and I’m trying to teach myself,” Gajanan says. Bahan was always willing to help. “He was also very helpful to students, particularly to beginners,” he recalls. “He was really popular as a coach and a very friendly, very pleasant fellow.”

Alan Hancock, who works in the campus bookstore, knew Bahan as a bandmate in the campus staff band, Staff Infection, in which Bahan played bass.

“When it came to music, he was always pretty serious and soft-spoken,” Hancock says. “He would pick things up really quickly.” Bahan joined the band as a sub for the previous bass player, who had left the band two weeks before a gig. Bahan was able to learn the group’s repertoire of classic rock covers without a hitch.

“If he hit the wrong note, or started out playing the wrong section, he would smile from ear to ear,” Hancock recalls. “We all got a kick out of it.

“He was humble, down to earth and very easy to get along with, always wanting to play and do his part for the band,” he adds — just as long as rehearsal didn’t interfere with an event for the swim team or Bahan’s work with high school swimmers and after-school programs.

Longtime head baseball coach and interim Bradford athletic director Bret Butler knew Ed Bahan for his entire career on the campus.

“Ed was just the most sincere, the most easy-going guy,” Butler recalls. But when swim meets came around, Bahan’s enthusiasm was evident, he adds. “On game day, there was just such an energy in that part of the building where the natatorium is. When Ed was excited he couldn’t hide anything. He loved his kids and he loved the sport of swimming.

“He was a solid colleague in the department and a very respected colleague within the conference,” Butler continues. “He had a love for the University of Pittsburgh, and he loved his swimming program here at Bradford. He is going to be sorely missed by the swimming athletes in this community.”

Bahan is survived by his wife Connie, children Clara and Henry, stepdaughter Louissa, sister Eleanor, brother Michael and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends noon-2 p.m. Nov. 15 in UPB’s KOA Arena, where a celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Swim Team, Attention: Institutional Advancement, 300 Campus Dr., Bradford 16701.

—Marty Levine 

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 6

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