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In Memoriam: Gary Troyer

Pomona College Emeritus Professor Gary Troyer
Pomona College Emeritus Professor Gary Troyer speaking with students
Pomona College Emeritus Professor Gary Troyer

Note: Coach Troyer's on-campus memorial will take place at Pendleton Pool on Sunday, March 11, from 1-4 p.m. Share memories of Coach/Professor Troyer with is family, friends and cherished alumni. As one would expect from a gathering in his honor, food and drink will be supplied. We would love to see you all! For those who have not visited the College recently you should know that the parking lot behind Mudd-Blaisdell is not available due to renovation. Please note that donations in memory of Gary can be directed to the College, c/o Don Pattison, 550 North College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711. For information, email Catherine Troyer Rose '85 at

Long-time Pomona-Pitzer swimming and water polo coach Gary Troyer passed away on December 10.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a good friend," said Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Director Charles Katsiaficas. "Coach Troyer was a giver. He loved Pomona College, and he loved teaching and coaching here, which was evident in the way he so generously served the students. We will all remember Gary for his loyalty, warmth, and willingness to give of himself. Since his retirement in 2004, he continued to serve the department, the College, and the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Linda and his family."

Born in Oakland in 1940, Emeritus Professor of Physical Education Gary Troyer dove into athletics at an early age. He graduated from John Burroughs High School in Burbank in 1958 after earning varsity letters and captaining the football and swim teams. Attending the University of Redlands, Troyer was the frosh football captain and a three-year starter on the varsity team at offensive guard and defensive linebacker. In addition, he was a member of the swim team.

Troyer graduated with his Bachelor's in 1962, and earned his Master’s from Redlands in 1964. He began his coaching career in 1962 as an age-group swimming coach and then became the head coach of the Redlands Swim Club in 1967. He taught history at San Bernardino High School from 1963 to 1970, and he also coached the swimming team and football team from 1963 to 1967. From 1967 to 1970, Troyer coached the University of Redlands water polo and swimming teams.

In the fall of 1970, Troyer started at Pomona College as the water polo and swimming coach. A quintessential NCAA Division III coach, he won SCIAC titles in men’s water polo (1981) and women’s swimming (1977 and 1978). Leading athletic teams with a precise understanding of the academic and athletic balance required at a highly rigorous institution, Troyer mentored countless All-Conference swimmers and polo players, as well as numerous school-record holders and All-Americans. While at Pomona College, Coach Troyer taught SCUBA, sailing, and windsurfing, along with all of the Red Cross classes in first aid, CPR, life waving and water safety.

During his career, Coach Troyer toured with SCIAC water polo players in the People’s Republic of China, coaching the undergraduates in tournament play against teams from Beijing, Nanking and Canton.

A noted chef, Coach Troyer often treated his teams and fellow department members to feasts of smoked salmon or carne asada on the deck of Haldeman Pool and to lobster cookouts, surfing and off-coast diving at his beachside cabin north of Ensenada, Mexico.

Married to wife Linda, Troyer retired from coaching water polo in 2001 but continued to coach swimming and diving for three more years. Troyer then fully retired from Pomona in 2004, and was inducted into the Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 for Distinguished Service. In 2007, he was awarded the SCIAC Distinguished Service award.

Following his retirement, Coach Troyer used his expertise in SCUBA skills as a volunteer diver for the Coast Keepers of Orange County, and he made trips to Borneo, Micronesia, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. He also served as a member of the board of directors and volunteered for the Claremont Chapter of the Red Cross.


To submit a personal tribute for Emeritus Professor Gary Troyer, please email your thoughts to and we will post it below.

While he might have evinced a gruff exterior, Gary always cared deeply for his students, and he always had a sly sense of humor. Most people know that Haldeman Pool, where Gary spent his hours, was just adjacent to the football field. There’s a large net wall between the two now, but it wasn’t always there, and—for years—football kickers were booting the ball through the east uprights directly into the water. One Saturday afternoon the football team and water polo team had concurrent games, and Gary was ready. Midway through the first half of the football game, one team kicked a field goal and the ball disappeared over the pool wall. A few seconds later, a bright yellow water polo ball came flying back out over the wall and landed on the football field, bouncing between helmeted players. 

Kirk Reynolds
Professor of Physical Education and Women's Cross Country and Track & Field Coach