Coaches

Head Head Coach : Jim StillsonJim started coaching in 1972 after graduating from Ohio State University, where he was an NCAA All-American diver.  Since coming to SMU in 1983, he has been named the NCAA Coach of the Year three times and the United States Diving Coach of the Year.  He coaches the SMU diving program which has developed into one of the strongest in the country, producing four Olympians (Ali Al-Hasan, Scott Donie, Janet Ely, Tony Iglesias), one World Champion (Janet Ely, 1978), and an Olympic Silver Medalist (Scott Donie, 1991).  Jim has also served in several capacities on the United States Diving Executive Board of Directors as well as serving multiple years on the Senior Rules Committee for US Diving.

Lessons/JO Coach : Michele Pappas
Michele started diving at 7 years old.  She was the National JO champion at 14 and again at 16,  In 1979 she became the United States National Champion in the Women’s 3-meter event and also won an international event, the Swedish Cup.  Michele was a member of the United States National Team for 6 years and an All-American diver at SMU for 4 years.  She competed for a spot on the 1980 Olympic Team. Michele has also competed in masters diving, winning the World Masters Championships in 1988 in both the 1 and 3-meter events.  Now she is a mom and has been coaching for 30 years.  Michele has been instrumental in developing many local divers into national caliber divers, including Cheril Santini, Jace McNeil, Jessica Tayce, Holly Winters, and Phillip Griffin.

Lesson/JO Coach : Eric Ognibene
Eric was the first deaf male diver to be a member of the 1985 U.S. National Diving Team.  He was recognized as one of the most outstanding young deaf athletes in the country. Ognibene’s list of diving achievements includes being a Texas high school All –American and champion, 7 time Junior Olympic National qualifier, two time Junior Olympic National finalist, two time NCAA All-American,  4 times Big 8 (12 ) Champion,  6 times Senior National finalist, and competed as an amateur diver for 20 years.
Today, Eric is the Carrollton-Farmers Branch District diving coach. During his 15 years with the school district, Eric developed 15 district champions, 11 regional champions, 11 5A State qualifiers, 6 4A State qualifiers, 4 All-American divers,  3 5A State finalist, 2 4A State finalist, and first ever High School Texas State champion diver from the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District. Eric’s coaching achievements includes being a 20 time high school district coach of the year and 12 times regional coach of the year. Developed three national team champions, six junior national team divers, four Senior National team divers and four national champions as head and assistant coach for the Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving team in California.

 

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