NCAA, Olympic diving coach Jim Stillson to retire after 33 years at SMU

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Jim Stillson, AAC Diving Coach of the Year 2017
SMU’s Jim Stillson with the American Athletic Conference’s 2017 Diving Coach of the Year Award. Stillson has announced his retirement after 33 years with SMU.

SMU Diving Coach Jim Stillson, a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and 16-time conference Coach of the Year, has announced his retirement after 33 seasons on the Hilltop.

As head of the Mustang men’s and women’s programs, Stillson coached four individuals to eight NCAA Championships and 20 student-athletes to 71 All-America honors. He has also mentored three NCAA Divers of the Year and 10 U.S. National Champions. Overall, 21 of Stillson’s SMU divers have won 89 conference championships.

“We want to thank Coach Stillson for his years of service and his outstanding contributions to the successes of our student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “He is a legend in his field and has set the standard for SMU Diving. He has positioned us to compete for championships for years to come. We look forward to having him back on campus this fall when we open our new natatorium and having him join us to celebrate the future championships our divers will win because of the foundation he has laid.”

On the international level, Stillson has coached three Olympians to four appearances, including SMU alumnus Scott Donie (USA), who competed at the 1992 and 1996 Games, winning silver in 1992. Stillson also mentored 1996 Olympians Ali Al-Hasan (Kuwait) and Tony Iglesias (Bolivia).

In 1989, Stillson was named the NCAA Men’s Diving Coach of the Year and, in 1990 and 1995, the NCAA Women’s Diving Coach of the Year. Stillson served as one of the U.S. Diving National Team coaches from 1987-91 and again in 1997, leading the team at events in countries such as Europe, Australia, China and the Soviet Union. In addition, he was selected as a team leader for the USA Diving team at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Stillson’s honors include the 1999 U.S. Olympic Committee Diving Coach of the Year award and the 1992 Mike Malone Memorial Award, given for outstanding contributions to diving by the national governing body of the sport. In 2015, he was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame with the Paragon Award, which is presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics.

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