Gulliver Schools has appointed Jeff Poppell, who led the Arkansas Razorbacks’ women’s swimming and diving teams to national success, as its new aquatics director and head varsity swimming coach.
“We welcome Jeff to our school and are very excited about the prospects for our swim team in having such an accomplished coach working with them,” said John Krutulis, Gulliver head of school.
Poppell will be moving to Miami from Fayetteville, AR, where he was head women’s swimming and diving coach at the University of Arkansas for the past six years. Under Poppell’s leadership the team has ranked in the Top 25 nationally for the past four seasons. He coached the program to a fifth place finish at the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championships, the highest finish in the team’s history. The school has 10 student-athletes qualified to compete in this summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials.
“Jeff was able to put the University of Arkansas women’s swimming and diving team on the map,” said Mark Schusterman, Gulliver’s director of athletics and head softball coach. “His knowledge and experience will bring tremendous benefits to our swimming team.”
From 2009 to 2011, Poppell received the American Swimming Coaches Association Certificate of Excellence, and in 2009 he was the head women’s coach for Team USA at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Before moving to Arkansas, Poppell served as head swimming coach in Jacksonville for the acclaimed Bolles School and Bolles Sharks swim programs. Under his leadership, the Bolles School took state and national titles. In 2005, Poppell was named the Florida High School Boy’s Coach of the Year. In 2004, he was named the National High School Girl’s Coach of the Year.
“I am very excited about returning to Florida and the opportunity to lead the high school and club swimming programs at Gulliver Schools. Having spent 13 successful years with the Bolles School and Bolles Sharks in Jacksonville, I am very familiar with the college preparatory school environment and the combined affiliation with a year-round USA swimming club,” Poppell said.
“Gulliver is a phenomenal school with great leadership and possesses one of the most beautiful outdoor 50-meter aquatic facilities that I have seen. There is great potential to build a nationally competitive program at Gulliver, and I am thrilled with both the opportunity and the challenge,”Poppell added.
A Jacksonville native, Poppell holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in management from the University of Georgia. He was a four-year letter winner in swimming and team captain for the Georgia Bulldogs and a two-time NCAA Qualifier, Academic All-SEC, and Honorable Mention All-SEC.