Ronn Jenkins Retires after 49 Years as West Chester Diving Coach

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West Chester University diving coach Dr. Ronn Jenkins announced his retirement this week after 49 seasons leading the Golden Rams’ program.

Jenkins, who graduated from West Chester in 1965, began coaching at his alma mater in 1972 after a string at Bucknell as he pursued his master’s degree. He got his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. He coached a Division II national champion as recently as 2019 (Nadia Mulder) and was named the 1995 Division II diving coach of the year.

“As you are no doubt aware, I recently underwent heart surgery,” Jenkins said in a university statement. “Coupled with the current pandemic and the college’s concern for its liability, my recovery compels me to consider what’s most important under these circumstances. The current world Covid-19 crisis has given me time for reflection and strong thoughts of my future. In my efforts to champion physical and mental health, I have neglected my own. I have decided, therefore, to make the best of the life I have remaining by retiring from my position as the University’s volunteer Head Diving Coach. It is my sincere hope that the diving team continues to enjoy the successes it has had under my tutelage.”

Jenkins was the coordinator of diving officials at the 1996 Olympics and the 1997 World Championships, both in Atlanta. He served as the chairperson for USA Diving’s Committee on Diversity from 1991-94 and as a member of the NCAA’s Swimming and Diving Committee from 1995-99 as well the YMCA National Swimming and Diving Committee. He supplemented his education with training courses at the United States Olympic Training Center Coaches College.

“I want to thank Ronn for the many contributions he has made to our diving program and our department as a whole,” West Chester Director of Athletics Terry Beattie said. “His commitment to excellence set him apart, and his legacy will continue to inspire student-athletes for years to come. I wish Ronn much health and happiness.”

As a competitor, Jenkins was a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) champion, a Mid-Atlantic Conference champion and won two Junior Olympic titles.

He was inducted to West Chester’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of fame in 2014. Before retiring several years ago, Jenkins worked as a counselor, an associate professor and associate dean of students at West Chester. He became the director of the advising center and the chairman of the educational services department and sat on the board at a variety of local organizations.

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6 comments

  1. Stephanie Harrison Greeby

    Ronn is an amazing coach, teacher and leader! He helped so many young coaches along the way. I actually enjoyed my coaching certification classes when Ronn was the instructor. Wishing him the best!!

  2. avatar
    Steve Curlee

    Dr. Jenkins is a national-class diving coach (though I’ve heard him express multiple times in the past that he gravitates to “teaching” diving more so than coaching it); however, I would argue passionately that his value to the universe as a world-class PERSON is his transcending contribution. Thanks Ronn for your friendship; thanks even more for your example. Long live Ronn!

  3. avatar
    Nancy Wolf

    Congratulations Ronn! Enjoy the next chapter. Stay healthy! Nancy Wolf Baumann

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