BYU’s head diving coach to retire at season’s end

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BYU head diving coach Keith Russell announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2014-15 season after 23 years of leading the Cougar divers.(byucougars.com)
BYU head diving coach Keith Russell announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2014–2015 season after 23 years of leading the Cougar divers.(byucougars.com)

BYU diving coach Keith Russell announced Jan. 28 that he would step down after 23 years.

Over the course of his career, he earned 14 Mountain West Conference Diving Coach of the Year awards, and two of his former divers competed for the United States in the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece. Russell served as a diving judge in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China.

Two divers, Vanessa Thelin and Valerie Blau, were named All-Americans Russell’s first season. Two season later, in 1994, Thelin won the one-meter NCAA National Championship.

Russell was honored following a meet against Denver Jan. 24, his last home meet as head coach.

“To be here has been a dream come true,” Russell said. “My goal was to raise a family and to be able to do that right here, under these circumstances, with the support and help from the administration and all the head coaches, Tim Powers and John Brooks. It’s been such a wonderful ride.”

Prior to coaching, Russell was an accomplished diver. Not only did he finish fourth in the 10-meter dive at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, but he also won multiple Western Athletic Conferences at Arizona State and won the three-meter NCAA National Championship.

Russell served an LDS mission to Chile and transferred to BYU upon his return in 1972.

A native of Mesa, Arizona, he was inducted into the Mesa City Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1994.

Russell is married to Marsha Lofgreen, and the couple has six children.

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