By Scott Creer
Batman and Robin have been fighting crime on the streets for years.
But BYU”s dynamic duo prefers to do its work in the pool.
Keith Russell is in his ninth season as head coach for the BYU diving team. His son Aaron is an All-American sophomore diver for the Cougars.
Coach Russell is extremely proud of his son”s accomplishments to this point and knows his son always has a chance to win.
“You”re going to have to dive well to beat him,” Russell said.
Coach Russell should know.
Keith Russell began his collegiate diving career at Arizona State University where he won the NCAA three-meter championships in 1968. That same year, he was selected as a member of the U.S. Olympic Games Diving Team.
After serving an LDS mission to Chile, he transferred to BYU. He continued his success as a Cougar, earning All-American honors in 1972.
His diving career led him to compete in the 1974 World Championships, placing second on platform and third on the three-meter springboard.
“I”ll never be as great as he was,” Aaron Russell said.
Coach Russell was quick to disagree with his star son”s statement. “He”s a way better diver than I ever was,” Coach Russell said.
If Aaron isn”t as good as his dad yet, he just might be one day with one of the best coaches around helping him along the way.
Keith Russell began coaching at BYU in 1993 and has since been named conference coach of the year three times. This past season, Russell won the inaugural Mountain West Conference coach of the year award.
With all that competitive experience under his belt, Coach Russell tries hard to use the lessons he learned in his coaching style. “I hope the team recognizes the efforts I made as a diver and understands that I”ve been through it all,” he said.
Coach Russell admits that it”s a little different coaching his son, but nothing too hard to manage. “You get in the groove of things and it”s pretty much the same,” Russell said.
Aaron Russell says that his dad treats him a little differently sometimes, but he”s used to it by now. “He was harder on me when I was younger,” Aaron Russell said.
In the 2000 NCAA Championships, Aaron Russell placed 14th in the one-meter springboard competition, gaining All-American honors for himself. However, he refuses to settle for only one year of that lofty success.
“I expect to do better this year,” Aaron Russell said.
With his father already claiming one national championship for the family, Aaron is working hard to place another national trophy on the fireplace mantle.
“If I can stay healthy and stay in the game mentally, I believe it”s possible,” Aaron Russell said.