Russ Dekker | Head Diving Coach
Russ Dekker begins his sixth season as the Head Diving Coach for the University at Buffalo. In the 2019-20 season, the Bulls dominated the UB Diving Invite as they swept the podium in the 3-meter dive while placing first and third in the 1-meter dive. Freshman Victoria Franz led the way with first place finishes in both events with scores of 323.35 and 286.25 in the 3-meter and 1-meter dives, respectively. Three divers qualified for the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships where Journi Northorp finished sixth of 63 and narrowly missing NCAA Championship qualifications.
At the 2019 MAC Championships, Jae Sarkis earned MAC Freshman Diver of the Year honors. Another of Dekker’s divers would claim this honor a year later as Victoria Franz would earn the honor after placing second in the 1-meter and third in the 3-meter dive at the MAC Championships. Dekker is the only MAC diving coach to have two freshman divers earn this honor in back-to-back seasons.
Prior to his arrival at UB, Dekker spent the last 11 years as the Head Diving Coach at Ohio University. In 2014, Dekker earned the honor of MAC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year, as voted by his peers.
While with the Bobcats, Dekker coached two MAC Champions, one MAC Diver of the Year and one Scholar Athlete of the Year. He also coached multiple MAC finalists and his divers earned 15 school records.
Prior to Ohio, Dekker completed three seasons as the men's and women's diving coach at the University of Wyoming. During his tenure in Laramie, the Cowboys and Cowgirls established themselves as one of the elite diving programs in the Mountain West Conference, highlighted by six divers qualifying for the 2004 NCAA Zone E Championships. Wyoming divers routinely were named to the all-conference team under Dekker's tutelage.
Dekker began his coaching career as the head diving coach at Ypsilanti High School from 1996-2001. At Ypsilanti, he coached two state champions and two state runner-ups. Dekker also served as an assistant coach for Legacy Diving from 2000-01, where he coached 11 Junior National qualifiers, three Senior National qualifiers, two Junior National finalists and a Junior National runner-up.
Dekker competed collegiately at Eastern Michigan University. He was selected the MAC Diver of the Year in 1995 and was a four-time NCAA Zone Championship qualifier and a three-time Academic All-MAC selection. He helped lead Eastern Michigan to three MAC team championships in the four years he competed. While attending Eastern Michigan, Dekker earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a minor in communications.