Swimming has always been a passion for United States Sports Academy’s 2005 honors graduate, Mathew Luebbers. His dreams led him from being a swimmer in his hometown of Libertyville, Ill., to becoming the head swim coach for the Okinawa Dolphins Swim Team in Okinawa, Japan.
His swim team is part of the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Semper Fit Aquatics program and is comprised of 200+ youth through adult swimmers including active duty, dependents, and civilians working for the US Military in Okinawa.
“We take part in local and international meets,” he said. “We also host youth and women-only triathlons, aquathlons, and a few clinics now and then.”
A career as a swim coach began early on for Luebbers, as he started swimming in high school and college. Luebbers began coaching during his summer breaks from college.
“I have always stayed active in some way as a swim coach, although I was pursuing other avenues of full-time employment,” he said. “In the early 1990s, I accepted the reality that coaching was what I most enjoyed, so I began doing it full-time.”
Initially, Luebbers “full-time” career began with the highly ranked Lake Forest Swim Club in Lake Forest, Ill., and then he got the head coaching position with the Appleton YMCA Marlins Swim Team in Appleton, Wis. He has also coached with the Lake Forest College Swimming and Diving program and with the Libertyville Wildcat Swim Club.
“At one point a friend saw a position posted for a swim coach in Japan with the US Military,” Luebbers said. “That’s where I am still at today, 18 years later.”
Luebbers graduated with honors from the Academy in 2005 with a Master of Sport Science degree in Sport Coaching. His studies were actually completed while he was coaching in Okinawa, Japan.
“The ability to do things at my own pace was a good fit for me,” he said.
Of all of the courses that he took from the Academy, Luebbers said that the Marketing course was the most valuable.
“It gave me some tools I had not thought of to help me work with our marketing section from time to time.”
Luebbers’ goals and expectations for his future have not changed since he graduated from the Academy.
“I did then and do now want to be a head coach of a solid team, and I want to enjoy coaching every day.”
Luebbers’ plans for his future include living his life to the fullest and retiring while in Okinawa.
“I am on the back-end of my career now,” he said. “I want the team to stay strong, do as well or better at our seasonal championships in Tokyo, and continue to be a good resource for the military families and related personnel to help make Okinawa a home away from home.”
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special-mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.