Ohio State hires former interim, club and Team USA coach Sochor as coach
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Justin Sochor was named head coach of the Ohio State diving team, TJ Shelton, associate athletics director for sports administration, announced Wednesday. Sochor becomes just the fourth coach in the program’s 82-year history.
“I am confident that Justin has what it takes to lead our very successful diving program both in the classroom and in the diving well,” Shelton said. “During the interview process, Justin articulated a vision that would focus on the overall development of the student-athlete. We are excited to have Justin join our coaching staff at Ohio State.”
Sochor, who was head coach for Team USA at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, is no stranger to the Buckeye diving program.
The 2010 USA Diving Junior National Coach of the Year, Sochor transitioned from a three-year stint at the helm of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy to the program manager and head coach of the Ohio State Diving Club in 2010. Sochor, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the Buckeyes from 2007-10, worked closely with former 35-year Ohio State diving head coach Vince Panzano and considers his predecessor as his coaching mentor.
“Mike Peppe, Ron O’Brien and Vince Panzano. For more than 80 years, these three men have created the finest diving community for student-athletes to achieve their highest level of success personally, competitively and academically,” Sochor said. “These coaches have inspired me to continue the tradition of excellence at this great university. I am truly honored and humbled to step forward as the fourth head diving coach of the Buckeyes.”
Most recently, Sochor led the Ohio State Diving Club to back-to-back overall national titles at the 2013 USA Diving Junior National Championships Aug. 10 in Minneapolis, Minn. The OSU boys club also claimed a national championship.
In 2012, Sochor left his position with the club team to take full leadership as interim diving coach for the Scarlet and Gray during the Women’s Big Ten Championships. With his guidance, the Buckeyes swept the diving events as former OSU diver Bianca Alvarez dominated the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events with scores of 360.65 and 410.65, respectively, while current OSU diver Cheyenne Cousineau completed the sweep with a winning score of 326.10 on the 10-meter platform. In 2010, he also guided the Ohio State men’s squad to its first Big Ten championship in 54 years.
Sochor has coached the Buckeyes to multiple NCAA All-American performances, including first- and second-place finishes at the 2008 NCAA championships on the women’s 3-meter event when Chelsea Davis and Alvarez earned the top two spots, respectively.
As a coach at the junior and national team levels, Sochor has collected 78 individual national medals, including 22 golds, 25 silvers and 21 bronzes.
A former varsity diver and Cleveland State graduate with a degree in psychology, Sochor founded American Flyers Diving, Inc. in 1996. He developed his club into one of the largest diving clubs in the Midwest, bringing nearly 100 new divers into the sport each year. As a Viking, Sochor was a four-time collegiate conference champion and was named the 1995 Athlete of the Year. From 1992-97, Sochor was a professional high diver/entertainer at Sea World.