As a swimmer, then later as a coach, Jack Gayle’s focus was on trying to beat Brookwood.
Now he will wear the Broncos’ maroon and gold.
Gayle was announced Tuesday as Brookwood’s new head swimming and diving coach, marking his return to Gwinnett County after spending the previous two years at Lambert in Forsyth County. Until he left for Lambert, Gayle’s ties were to his alma mater, Parkview, through its swimming and diving program.
He does have pretty close ties to Brookwood, though. His wife Megan is a Brookwood grad who now teaches math at the Snellville high school, and most of his closest friends from youth swimming were Broncos.
“My wife being at Brookwood and my kids being at Brookwood Elementary as future Broncos (were big reasons) and it was definitely a great opportunity Coach (Greg) Puckett stepped down,” Gayle said. “I was surprised when he stepped down. He’s a Gwinnett County institution like Coach (Rick) Creed. It was an opportunity to step back into coaching. I missed coaching. I’ve been out (of coaching) two years now and I would pop in for meets, county, state. I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to take over a program like Brookwood.”
Gayle swam on Parkview’s 1995 and 1998 state championship teams, serving as captain and MVP of the ’98 team before swimming in college at both Florida and Georgia. He returned to coach for the Panthers and took over as head coach in 2004 when his high school coach, Rick Creed, became Mill Creek’s head coach.
As Parkview’s head coach, Gayle led the boys team to state titles in 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013.
“(Gayle) is one of the best swim and dive coaches in the state of Georgia and will no doubt continue the tradition of excellence with our program,” Brookwood athletic and activities director Jason Dopson said. “He has a tremendous amount of experience coaching high school swimming and his success as head coach is evident by his multiple state championships. He knows how to build and maintain a program and works extremely hard to maximize the talent he has in the pool.
“Our swim and dive team is lucky to have someone like Coach Gayle leading us for many years to come.”
The switch marks the second time in Gayle’s career that he replaces a legendary high school swimming and diving coach. At Parkview, he took over for Creed, who led the Panthers to eight team state championships.
He now inherits a Brookwood team from retiring head coach Puckett, who led the program for the past 23 seasons. Puckett won five boys team state championships and four girls team state titles during his tenure.
“To me, I sort of look at it as an unbelievable honor and an unbelievable responsibility, following Coach Creed and Coach Puckett,” Gayle said. “It’s an unbelievable responsibility to push the team forward. That was always on Eric (Brown) and my goals at Parkview, to keep pushing forward and keep Parkview, Parkview.”
Gayle also will have a new assistant coach at Brookwood in Kevin Rodgers, who plans to move down from Mill Creek. Rodgers was an assistant at Parkview when Gayle was a swimmer and until recently was an assistant for Creed at Mill Creek.
THE GAYLE FILE
Name: Jack Gayle
New position: Head swimming and diving coach at Brookwood
Former position: Teacher at Lambert
Education: Graduated from Parkview High School; graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in advertising; earned master’s degree in English and English education from UGA; also has specialist degree in gifted psychology from UGA
Background: Was Parkview’s head swimming and diving coach from 2004 to 2015; led the Panthers to boys team state championships in 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013; member of two state title teams (1995, 1998) as a Parkview swimmer; swam in college for both Florida and Georgia; qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000 in the 50 freestyle; wife Megan is a Brookwood grad and current math teacher at Brookwood; daughters attend Brookwood Elementary
Family: Wife Megan; daughters Ella, 11, and Hallie, 7