Ohio State diving coach Panzano retires after 35-year career with Buckeyes
COLUMBUS, Ohio –- Vince Panzano announced his retirement as head coach of the Ohio State diving team Monday. Panzano, who coached 12 NCAA champions, 23 U.S. national champions and 59 Big Ten champions since taking over the program in 1978, was the longest tenured coach with 35 years of service at Ohio State.
“During Vince’s tenure he had a significant positive impact on hundreds of young women and men,” said Gene Smith, associate vice president and director of athletics. “His dedication to the program and students he served is unparalleled. He set a standard of excellence that we will strive to maintain.”
In his 40 years as a Division I coach, Panzano has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 23 U.S. diving champions, 13 NCAA champions, 17 NCAA runners-up, 59 Big Ten champions and 92 All-Americans. Panzano also has coached Ohio State and McDonald's Diving to six national team titles. He has had divers on six of the last seven Olympic teams.
“Coach Panzano dedicated his career to developing young men and women through the sport of diving,” said TJ Shelton, associate athletics director, sports administrator. “One of the greatest coaches in the sport of diving at all levels, a family man and Buckeye, through the pursuit of the perfect dive, he embarked on a remarkable career developing conference and NCAA champions and Olympians.”
One of the most highly respected diving coaches, the four-time Olympic coach Panzano most recently guided Katie Bell to the 2012 London Olympics on the 10-meter platform after taking her to the U.S. Championships in August 2009. In 2008, he coached Chelsea Davis and Sean Moore to national championships on the 3-meter and 10-meter platform events, respectively, at the NCAA championships in Federal Way, Wash.
“Vince was a masterful teacher on deck getting the best out of each diver no matter what skill level they possessed,” Shelton said. “A fierce competitor, he prepared his student-athletes to perform their best during high-level dive competitions. I wish Vince and his wife Phyllis all the best as they embark on the next phase of their lives. Without a doubt, he will be missed.”
Panzano was a 1973 graduate of Ohio State. He began his coaching career at the University of Tennessee in 1973 and returned to his alma mater to succeed Ron O'Brien in 1978. While at Tennessee, he coached Jim Kennedy to the NCAA title on the 1-meter in 1976; his first NCAA champion.
Panzano has been named Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year 10 times throughout his career, including the 2007 season when his men's divers established a never-before honor of having three different divers sweep the three diving events: Kellen Harkness won the three-meter springboard, Burkley Showe took first on the 1-meter board and Wes Wieser won on the 10-meter platform. It was the first time a school has swept the three diving events since 1996 and the first time that the sweep was completed by three different athletes from the same school.
“I want to thank Vince for his 35 years of service and dedication to Ohio State swimming and diving,” said Bill Wadley, men’s swimming head coach. “Through his leadership, the diving program has excelled on the national and international levels. We wish him well as he moves forward in his next phase of his life.”
It wouldn't be the last time Panzano would witness his diving contingent accomplish such a feat. Not to be outdone by the men, at the 2012 Big Ten Championships the women's side also swept all three diving events. Capturing two individual titles, Bianca Alvarez dominated the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events with scores of 360.65 and 410.65, respectively. Cheyenne Cousineau completed the Buckeye sweep, winning the 10-meter platform competition with a score of 326.1. On the men's side, Shane Miszkiel notched the title in the one-meter event to up Panzano's total to 59 Big Ten champions.
The 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year award was Panzano's sixth on the men's side with the others coming in 1987-92-93-02-04. He has been named women's diving coach of the year four times, in 1993-96-00-12.
Most recently, Panzano coached Shane Miszkiel to an All-America performance at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Also the season's Big Ten 3-meter champion, Miszkiel helped the men's swimming and diving team to its fifth-consecutive season as one of the Big Ten's Top 3 programs. On the women's side, Cheyenne Cousineau also earned All-America accolades at the NCAA championships.
"I consider it a privilege to have shared the pool deck with Vince the past 5 years,” said Bill Dorenkott, women’s swimming head coach. “He has set a standard of excellence in his sport for close to four decades. Vince embodies the qualities to which Buckeyes aspire - commitment, passion, consistency and character."
Panzano has twice been awarded the "Mike Peppe Award," as U.S. Diving's outstanding coach. Panzano also has been selected NCAA Diving Coach of the Year four times. In 1996, Panzano was inducted into Ohio State University's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Panzano has a rich coaching experience in diving on the international level. He has coached the United States Olympic team on four separate occasions, including 1984 (Los Angeles), 1988 (Seoul), 1996 (Atlanta) and 2012 (London). Also, Panzano has served as coach for the Pan American Team, World Championships and in World Cup competitions. He also has been actively involved in coaching Junior Olympic divers.
Aside from coaching, Panzano served as meet director for the 1976 Olympic Trials. He hosted the first United States vs. China dual diving meet in 1980 at Ohio State and in 1981 he welcomed the indoor U.S. Diving Championships, also held at Ohio State. He has served on the United States Diving Board of Directors, the NCAA Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and the United States Diving International/Olympic Committee.
A native of King of Prussia, Pa., Panzano and his wife, Phyllis, have two sons, Vincent and Bryan and a grandson, Luca.