On Monday, December 19, 2022, former Navy SEAL and long-time teacher, mentor, and swim coach Daniel William Reichert peacefully hung up his whistle for the last time.
He is survived by his three sons: Craig, Todd, Scott, their wives: Tracy, Gilda, and Becky, and his four granddaughters: Jill, Sydney, Cara, and Peyton.
Born on February 9th, 1933, to Charles and Evelyn Wipper Reichert, Daniel “Danny” William Reichert grew up in Brooklyn, New York along with his older brother Charley Reichert. After graduating high school in 1952, Danny chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the United States Armed Forces. Upon entering the US Navy, Danny was determined to pursue one of the Navy’s most challenging and aggressive training programs, the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT). With his unmatched tenacity and perseverance, Danny was soon an esteemed member of the Navy’s Class 2 UDT. As both a natural and courageous leader, Danny made a name for himself throughout his four years of service,which included deployment in the Korean War, and earned the Navy’s Bronze Star, two Meritorious Medals, and one Commendation Medal.
Taking with him countless stories and experiences, Danny was honorably discharged in 1956. In a letter documenting his release from active duty on January 23, 1956, the Navy wrote, “It has been observed that your attention and devotion to duty was of the highest caliber. You, at all times, displayed initiative, ability to plan and organize work, exemplary conduct, industry, perseverance, military appearance, reliability, and responsibility.” Danny took the lessons and skills he learned from his service training and married them to his natural dedication and commitment, ready to begin the next phase of his life. After spending time working as a scuba diving consultant in both film and television, specifically on notable works such as the movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and the television show, Sea Hunt, Danny made the decision to begin a career in teaching and coaching. Danny’s drive, determination, and contagious spirit made him a tailored fit not only as an educator and coach, but also as a mentor and inspiration to others. Over the years Danny spent teaching and coaching, his pupils flocked to his leadership; he gave others the power to believe in themselves, simply by pushing them to work beyond their limits.
A physical education teacher at Hillside Elementary school and a swim coach at Martin’s Dam, Conestoga High School, Upper Main Line YMCA, West Chester University, and West Chester East High School, Danny again made a name for himself, this time for having such a meaningful, positive impact on those he taught, coached, and worked with. Through his contagious spirit and awesome personality, Danny continuously brought out the best in those around him. Swimmers and students alike continue to credit him for developing in them the mindset and perseverance to work harder and achieve more than they would have thought possible. Using his Navy stories, Danny instilled in others that anything was possible if you were willing to work for it. As he often said, “what the brain can conceive and the heart can believe, the body can achieve.”
Simply by being himself and exuding his natural exemplary qualities, Danny, throughout almost ninety years of life, gave those around him the will to push harder, dream bigger, and be the best they could be. To the thousands he coached and taught, Danny gave the gifts of inspiration and self-confidence. His impact continues to multiply generationally as his mindset and lessons are shared with others by those he taught, whether in a pool or a classroom. In an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2013, it was stated that, “No one knows exactly when Dan Reichert became a legend, but everyone agrees he did.” Though Danny would have never admitted it if asked, his family, his students, his swimmers, his colleagues, and his friends would all agree; Daniel Reichert was a legend, and to all those he inspired, a legend, he will always be.