University of Georgia diving coach Dan Laak will be leaving the college realm to move into the High Performance Director job with USA Diving. The diving federation announced the move today.
Laak is a multi-time Olympic diving coach, on staff with Team USA in 2008 and 2012 and Team Brazil in 2016. He’s been with the University of Georgia for 31 years, earning three national coach of the year honors and coaching athletes to five NCAA titles. His divers have been a key part of Georgia’s team success, and the Bulldogs will now be in the market for a new diving coach. The Bulldogs had three divers at women’s NCAAs last year (then-sophomore Freida Lim, then-sophomore Mckensi Austin and now-graduated senior Olivia Ball) and none at the men’s meet.
USA Diving says Laak will take over the new role on August 1. Kevin Ankrom resigned as High Performance Director and Vince Panzano is currently the interim director until the end of July.
The full USA diving press release is below, along with a Georgia Swim & Dive tweet bidding Laak farewell:
INDIANAPOLIS – USA Diving has announced that three-time Olympic coach Dan Laak has been named the organization’s High Performance Director.
Laak brings extensive international experience to USA Diving after having served as a coach at multiple Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cup events.
“I am excited to have Dan join our staff in this key position. His experience, knowledge of the sport and familiarity with our athletes and coaches will be invaluable while we prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and build a foundation for the future,” said USA Diving CEO Lee Johnson.
Laak served as a coach for the United States at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and coached for Brazil at the 2016 Olympic Games. He was a coach for the United States at four FINA World Championships and most recently served as the U.S. team leader at the 2017 World Championships. He also served on the U.S. coaching staff at three FINA World Cup meets and numerous Grand Prix and World Series competitions.
His athletes, including two-time Olympian Chris Colwill and national team member Laura Ryan, won 13 FINA Grand Prix medals, one World Cup bronze medal, one World Series silver medal and 13 U.S. national titles.
“I am looking forward to this new role with USA Diving. There is incredible talent and potential in the United States, and I am excited for the opportunity to lead our athletes and coaches as we approach Tokyo and continue planning for 2024 and 2028,” Laak said.
Laak comes to USA Diving after 31 years of coaching at the University of Georgia, where he was named national coach of the year three times and coached his divers to five NCAA titles.
Laak will replace Kevin Ankrom, who has resigned from his position. Vince Panzano will serve as interim High Performance Director through July, as Laak anticipates starting his new role August 1.
Dan Laak, who has served as diving coach for more than 3 decades, has announced his retirement from the college ranks to become the High Performance Director for @USADiving. We will miss him greatly! pic.twitter.com/SDirG59k7k
— Georgia Swim & Dive (@UGASwimDive) June 27, 2018
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