Sept. 25, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- Jerry Champer, one of Georgia swimming and diving’s associate head coaches, recently was inducted into the Western Illinois University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Champer posted a school-record 102 victories as Western Illinois’ head coach from 1994-2001. During his tenure, Champer was chosen as the Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year six times.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to be inducted into the Western Illinois Hall of Fame,” Champer said. “I was fortunate enough to work with some outstanding people that helped our team succeed. We had a number of truly phenomenal individual athletes that worked hard at building a legacy of success that we enjoyed during my time there.”
Western Illinois’ men and women dominated the Mid-Continent Conference during Champer's tenure. The men won four consecutive titles and were runners-up twice, while the women captured one title and were runners-up five times. No team coached by Champer ever finished lower than third at the conference championships.
Champer coached 44 individual conference champions and 46 all-conference honorees. He also coached the only Western Illinois swimmer to ever compete in the Olympics (Zurab Beridze for the Republic of Georgia at the 2000 Sydney Games).
Champer left Western Illinois to join the Georgia staff, serving two years as a volunteer assistant and the last nine as an assistant coach. He was promoted to associate head coach earlier this year.
Champer is married to Lu Harris-Champer, Georgia’s head softball coach and a softball letterwinner and graduate of Western Illinois. They have three daughters: twins Jenna and Emma, and Mya.