ANN ARBOR, Michigan, April 21. UNIVERSITY of Michigan coach Kongzheng “KZ” Li announced Friday (April 18) his resignation as the mentor for the men’s and women’s diving programs. Li completed his fourth season as the head diving coach in 2013-14.
“I have enjoyed my time at this great university and I am going to miss all of my divers,” said Li. “I would like to thank everyone at the University of Michigan for giving me this opportunity to be the diving coach, and I wish everyone associated with Michigan Athletics the best in the future.”
Li coached two female divers that qualified for the NCAA Championships during his four years with the program: Carey Chen in 2014 and Amanda Lohman in 2011 and 2012. Lohman earned All-America honorable mention in the one-meter and three-meter events at the 2012 championship. In 2014, men’s diver Timothy Faerber became the first U-M diver to reach the championship final of the Big Ten meet on all three boards since Jason Coben in 2003, and Chen scored on all three boards for the women at the conference championship.
Li has spent his entire 21-year career as a head coach. Prior to coming to Michigan, he was co-head coach of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus, Ohio (2009-10). Before that, Li led the National Training Centre of Diving in Melbourne, Australia, from 2006-08. His previous collegiate coaching experience came as the head diving coach at the University of Minnesota, where he produced eight NCAA All-Americans, six Big Ten champions and 45 Big Ten Championships finalists during his seven seasons (1996-2003). Li began his coaching career in 1991 as the head coach of Texas Aquatics (Austin, Texas) before heading up Team Orlando (Fla.) Diving in 1993.
Li served as a head coach or coach for the USA Diving National Team on more than 20 occasions, including his instruction of divers at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In addition, he twice coached at the World Championships (1998, 2001), three times at the World Diving Cup (1993, 1995, 1997) and once at the 1995 Pan-American Games. For his efforts, Li earned the Coach of Excellence Award at the USA Diving Senior National Championships in 1996.
A distinguished diver, Li was a three-time member of the Chinese Olympic Team and won a bronze medal on the platform at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. From 1975-88, Li participated in more than 50 international competitions, winning 25 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 10 bronze medals. Li graduated from the Beijing Institute of Physical Education.
Michigan will begin a national search to identify a new coach to lead the diving program.
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