For the past 9 years I have spent I have spent countless hours sitting on a pool deck coaching the best sport I have ever enjoyed; the sport of diving. Diving has taken me many great places, introduced me to a lot of amazing people and has me to where I am today. Without the sport of diving I would not be where I am today, I would not have met my wife, which would not have let me produce my two beautiful children and would not have let me become a coach. I love diving so much and everything about it. I love watching it, I love doing it, I love the training for it and I really love coaching it. Coaching may be the very best job I have ever had. I love watching my divers succeed and progress from day-to-day and I love watching the smiles on their faces when they learn a new dive or take first place at a competition. Although some days may be a little rough and I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over, all is forgotten with just a little bit a break through, a little closer jump or a better hurdle or better arm swing. I do not coach for the money because any dive coach will tell you there is no money in doing what we do but you know what? I don’t need any money. I coach because I love diving and I love coaching. I am passionate about what I do, I give it all my time and energy and I know the investment will come around again and again. I like feeling like I am making a difference in someone’s life on the pool deck and that I am hopefully setting a good example off the pool deck. Not only am I a coach but a mentor, a role model and also a friend. I care about every single one of my divers I have ever had and look forward to hearing about all the good things that are happening in their lives once they have moved on. I love hearing about my divers continuing on to college, getting married, getting a new job and enjoying themselves. It makes me feel great ( and a little old) to know that maybe I helped with them being as successful as they are. For those of you who have dove under me, I thank you for all your hard work, dedication, success and future success and look forward to continuing being your friend.
In my 9 years of coaching at Orange Coast College, I have had my ups and downs but for the most part I have been pretty darn successful. I have had 9 state champions, 4 divers of the year, 4 coach of the year awards and have helped the swim team win 6 state championship titles. I have coached multiple state champions from anywhere to a defending champion (Nikki Burreli), to a 35-year-old going back to school to successfully become a doctor (Chris Molloy) to my brother (Jonathan Franzen) and to my last and probably most special one Rae Adams.
This last weekend was my last and final season coaching at OCC and I badly wanted to finish strong and go out on top. I knew from the beginning of the season that I had something special with my two girl divers Rae and Candis. From the beginning of the season I really believed they could be top 5 contenders if not top 3 at the state championship meet. The way they interacted with each other, supported one another, joked and danced with each other and had a great time was something spectacular to watch and be a part of. I loved all of our practices we had with our techno/top hits station always blaring getting our grove on and all of our inside jokes and hand shakes. All season long the girls were very successful on 3 meter pretty much taking 1st and 2nd at every big meet leading up to the state championship meet. On Thursday they competed on 1 meter which they are not big fans of and always tell me how lame 1 meter is. They dove fairly well, with a couple of rough dives along the way and finished a respectable 4th and 5th. Not too bad for a board in which they think is lame. That’s okay the real board was the next day. On Friday, as I was driving up to the meet, I was on the phone talking to my wife and I was telling her how I felt. For the most part, it was general coaching stuff. As a coach, you analyze everything you did for the season. Did I train them hard enough? Did I work them long enough? Should I have taken more time working on _____? Should I have done more ____? All these questions swarm around in your head with all these doubts and what if’s. My wife, God bless her, reassured me and told me that 1.) I am a great coach and 2.) The coach only gets the athlete 75% there and it is up to the athlete the other 25% and you know she is right. I believe I did everything I could to get them to where they are and now it is up to them to put all their training to work and let everything fall into place. The 3 meter contest starts and we are off and running with some great opening dives. It was a battle back and forth and when it came down to the end, my girls capped off my diving career with the best 1, 2 finish of my diving career. I have never had anyone finish 1st and 2nd at the state championship meet in my career. I am so proud, happy and excited for my girls Rae and Candis and could not have asked for a better way to finish off my coaching run at OCC. Rae ended up being diver of the year and I coach of the year for the final time.
This season was a very special season and the best way I describe it is ” A perfect ending to a perfect season.” As I was driving home, I was riding the high of the season, the moment and I was remembering all of the divers who I have coached and made become champions and I was tearing up. I was glad that I was as successful as I was but also I was sad because I knew it was over. I knew my time was done and it was time to move on to my next adventure. I know I am not done coaching nor will I ever be. I will continue to coach the sport of diving for as long as I can because I love it and I am passionate about it.
Do what you love, love what you do and give it all you got.