From: Frank Gorman
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 6:37 PM
Subject: Bob Rydze announces retirement
USA Diving Chairman Bob Rydze has announced his retirement from
coaching at the University of Iowa.
Bob Rydze Announces Retirement
Rydze served as Iowa's diving coach for the past 37 years
March 27, 2012
Iowa City, Iowa-- University of Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze, a member of the Hawkeyes' swimming and diving program for the past 37 years, has announced his retirement, which will become effective June 30.
"It has been an honor to be the diving coach at the University of Iowa for 37 years," said Rydze. "But after being in the sport for 51 years, 10 as an athlete and 41 as a coach, I've decided it is time to move on to a new phase of my life."
During his coaching career, Rydze coached 18 NCAA All-Americans who received 42 All-America honors. He also coached four Olympians, nine divers who competed in the World Championships, three Big Ten champions that won six titles, 35 Big Ten finalists, 25 NCAA qualifiers and an NCAA Champion. He was also a key member of the coaching staff under Glen Patton that won the 1981 and 1982 Big Ten championships.
"Bob's success in the sport of diving is unmatched," said UI director of athletics Gary Barta. "He achieved at the highest level and did so as a Hawkeye. We're all proud of him, and appreciate his many years of service."
Rydze was honored four times as the Big Ten Coach of the Year, earning the distinction in 1985, 1986, 1995 and 2011, and he was named the National Age Group Coach of the Year in 1977. Rydze was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 2011, he received the Glenn McCormick Award, which is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of diving.
Rydze is also well-respected on the national scene, having held numerous positions with USA Diving and the NCAA. He was the USA Diving age group rules chairman from 1975-79, while being a member of the NCAA Diving Rules Committee from 1981-84 and 2003-08. He was also the Chairman of the Committee for Competitive Excellence of USA Diving from 2006-08, and is presently the Chairman of the Board of USA Diving.
"I hope that I've made a positive contribution to each of my divers that I have coached," said Rydze. "At all times during my career, throughout my success collegiately, on the national and international level, I have also represented the great name of the University of Iowa. My only regret is that I leave behind a great freshman and sophomore class, but I know they are in good hands in the near future.
"Being the diving coach at the University of Iowa has given me the opportunity to travel to not only all parts of the United States, but to all parts of the globe, and for that I am very grateful."
Rydze began his coaching career at Eastern Michigan from 1971-73, where he led the Eagles to the NCAA college division swimming and diving championship. He then went on to coach at the Dad's club in Houston, Texas, from 1973-75, where he led his age group to three titles and the national age group team championship.
Rydze graduated from the University of Maryland in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in history, and he competed on the 1969-70 ACC Championship team. He received his master's degree in history from Eastern Michigan in 1973.
He and his wife, Elaine, have three children -- Bo, Robin and Veronica. Veronica was an All-American one-meter diver for the Hawkeyes in 2011. She concluded her UI diving career in 2012.
THE DAILY IOWAN
Diving 'legend' bids farewell
The Iowa swimming and diving team will have a new face in the 2012-13 season.
Diving coach Bob Rydze — the longest-tenured coach in the Iowa Athletics Department at 37 years — on Tuesday announced his retirement, effective June 30.
Rydze coached 18 divers who earned All-American honors and four Olympians. He also serves as chairman of the Board of USA Diving. He said he will continue to hold that post.
"Bob's success in the sport of diving is unmatched," Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a release. "He achieved at the highest level and did so as a Hawkeye. We're all proud of him and appreciate his many years of service."
Rydze was brought to Iowa City in 1975 by former head coach Glenn Patton. He was only paid as a part-time coach for his first two seasons before being promoted to full-time. Rydze said he took the job with little hesitation, despite the pay.
"It was a leap of faith," he said. "The Big Ten was probably the only conference, at the time, that had full-time diving coaches. Coach Patton promised me that if I came, it would be made a full-time position after a couple years. So I took that leap."
Patton said he chose Rydze on the recommendation of former Michigan diving coach Dick Kimball, and said Kimball was true to his word.
Former Hawkeye Randy Ableman qualified for the 1980 Olympics and went on to earn All-American honors three times while under Rydze's leadership.
"For us to have a young program and have a diver make the United States Olympic team, that helped put us on the map for swimming and diving," Patton said.
Patton said Rydze's greatest strength as a coach is his "uncanny knack" of being able to communicate with and relate to his divers — "at a level I've not seen in America," he said.
Redshirt freshman Joelle Christy agreed.
"Diving has definitely evolved over the years, and Bob has grown with the sport," she said.
Rydze was an instrumental cog in Iowa's back-to-back Big Ten championships in 1981-82. He spent hours each week collecting the times for each event from every school, which gave the Hawkeyes a significant competitive advantage over the rest of the conference.
"He knew the conference swimmers better than I did — better than anyone in the conference," Patton said. "He knew what everybody was doing, how they were progressing. He had an unbelievable impact on helping us decide who we should swim in what event — both in dual meets and the Big Ten championships — in order to maximize our finish."
Rydze said he was excited about the potential of the group he's leaving behind. His daughter, Veronica Rydze, was the only upperclassman on the team this season, and he said the underclassmen have the talent to succeed at the Big Ten level.
He said he told the divers to keep an open mind as they move forward without him.
"I want them to look at it as a great opportunity, to be coached by someone else," he said. "They should be excited that someone is going to come in with a lot of energy and be able to do some things that, at my age, I can't do anymore."