Ellis Middle School pool dedicated to former coach Bud Higgins - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ellis Middle School pool dedicated to former coach Bud Higgins

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AUSTIN Minn. (KTTC) -- As far as anyone is concerned, for the last 38 years, the pool at Ellis Middle School has always been Bud Higgins' pool.

"Since Bud really designed this and got the people behind this to pass the bond issue, it's really more his baby than any of the others," said Dick Lees, a member of the Austin School Board.

But after Thursday's dedication, it's official.

When he came to Austin back in 1961 though, this isn't the pool he started with.

"We had a three lane pool that I think, fortunately, they destroyed," said Bud Higgins. "Swimmers used to run into each other."

So he worked with an architect who had never built a pool before to put together one that would raise generations of swimmers.

But according to his former champions, some who still hold their records, it's not about the pool he helped construct -- it's about the teams he built, his sense of humor and his life lessons.

"He's got a lot of forgiveness," said former swim team member Wesley Hompe. "A lot of patience for us."

"Unbelievable coach, unbelievable human being," said former swim team member Jeff Sanders. "Think about him often. A lot of my coaching talks are all related with what I learned in Austin, from Bud Higgins."

After growing up under the wings of Bud Higgins, the community got the chance to give a little back.

"Almost overwhelming," Higgins said. "It's quite an honor. More than I expected."

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