2019 MAC Men’s Diving Coach of the Year KongRong Li Won’t Return to Miami (OH)

Miami University (Ohio) head diving coach KongRong Li won’t return as the program’s head coach next season, a school spokesperson confirmed to SwimSwam on Monday. That spokesperson also said that Miami would continue to have divers and a diving coach next season.

Li was named the 2019 Diving Coach of the Year at the MAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships, which is the 3rd time he’s won the award. In his tenure, he has produced either the male or female honoree for MAC Diver of the Year in 10 out of his 13 seasons. In total, that’s 10 MAC Diver of the Year awards and 17 MAC Championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter events. That includes coaching women’s diver Pei Lin to 7 All-America awards.

He also coached the last two seasons of Chris Heaton’s career at Miami, where he finished his career undefeated at the MAC Championships and was twice named MAC Diver of the Year. That continued into the 2010 and 2011 seasons, where Jimmy Beres was named the Conference Diver of the Year.

Last season, at the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Miami University men finished 2nd, 80 points behind the conference champions Missouri State.

On the women’s side, the women’s team was 4th with 408 points, about half the points of the champions from Akron.

The Mid-American Conference only holds 1 meter and 3 meter events at its conference championship meet. Last season, the Miami men scored 52 diving points, as compared to 81 for Missouri State. Missouri State did use 3 divers instead of 2, however, and with only 10 male divers competing in the 5-team conference, there were significant points to be had just by entering more divers.

Miami’s top performer on the men’s side was Sam Wiedemann, who was 3rd on both the 1-meter and 3-meter for the men.

On the women’s side, where there were 29 competitors in each diving event and points weren’t assured via a legal finish, the Miami women scored only 3 diving points with 4 divers entered.

Lin has some international experience as well. He served as Team Leader for Team USA at a 2018 FINA Diving World Cup event. He also served as a coach consultant for USA Diving in the 2013-2014 season.


  • Men’s MAC Diving Coach of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Men’s MAC Diver of the Year: Chris Heaton (2008, 2009), Jimmy Beres (2010, 2011)
  • Women’s MAC Diver of the Year: Nikki Craft (2012), Pei Lin (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Men’s MAC Champion 1-Meter: Chris Heaton (2008, 2009), Jimmy Beres (2010, 2011)
  • Women’s MAC Champion 1-Meter: Pei Lin (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Men’s MAC Champion 3-Meter: Chris Heaton (2008, 2009), Jimmy Beres (2011)
  • Women’s MAC Champion 3-Meter: Nikki Craft (2012); Pei Lin (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • NCAA Zone C Women’s Diving Champion 1-Meter: Pei Lin (2015, 2016)
  • NCAA Zone C Women’s Diving Champion 3-Meter: Pei Lin (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • NCAA Championship Women’s 3-Meter: Pei Lin (2nd 2015, 2nd 2016, 2nd 2017, 5th 2018)
  • NCAA Championship Women’s 1-Meter: Pei Lin (10th 2015, 3rd 2016, 7th 2017, 21st 2018)
  • MAC Team Championships (Women): 2009, 2013
  • MAC Record Holders: Women’s 3-Meter (Pei Lin 409.70 — 2015)
  • MAC Championship Record Holders: Women’s 1-Meter (Pei Lin 338.90 — 2016), 3-Meter (Pei Lin 398.95 — 2016)


  • Head Diving Coach — Miami University (August 2007-2020)
  • Co-Head Diving Coach — U.S. Elite Diving Academy (2001-2007)
  • Diving Coach — Australian Institute of Sport Elite Diving Program (1995-2001)
  • Head Diving Coach — Nanning Diving Team – Guangxi, China (1985-1995)
  • Assistant Diving Coach — Nanning Diving Team – Guangxi, China (1980-1985)

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1 year ago

I wish him the best, but he didn’t develop talent very much, they can do much better.

1 year ago

Coach Bonewit-Cron has been a sub par coach who has had problems recruiting from the very talented local Ohio talent that is being poached by their rivals at UC. As a result she resorts to international recruits in order to buff up a program where she fails to develop most of her swimmers. KR had similar problems developing and was often able to bring in talent from China. His most recent recruiting efforts must’ve been unfruitful internationally, not a surprise as he couldn’t even fill his three men’s slots on the team last year. Must not been worth his pay grade with most recent budget cuts.

Ryan Wagner
Reply to  My2cents
1 year ago

Coach Hollie Bonnewit-Cron is one of the best coaches in Division 1 Swimming period. In four years she has flipped the program into something special. Those words are hurtful and pretty untrue.

Reply to  Ryan Wagner
1 year ago

This is the same coach/staff that recruit athletes to Miami and don’t tell them it’s in Ohio? This is the same coach/staff that doesn’t know their team well enough and have swimmers at a last chance meet REGULARLY out swim their conference swimmers? This is the same coach/staff who has averaged a 5th place finish at Women’s conference the last 4 years?

One of the best coaches in division 1 period?

Reply to  Ryan Wagner
1 year ago

How many Coaches has she run off in her time at Miami(OH)?? If she’s such a great coach why isn’t she moving up from the mid major program?

1 year ago

Bonewit-Cron has single handedly run that team into the ground as head coach. I feel bad for the swimmers who committed to what was once a promising team only to have their careers ruined and love for the sport tarnished. Perhaps Miami Athletics should look more into removing her.

clown alert
Reply to  cblvr
1 year ago

Didn’t the men just win their first championship in 13 years in 2019?

Reply to  clown alert
1 year ago

In a conference with 4 other teams who are not actually in the MAC. If you consider that to be a triumphant win, by all means go ahead. If EMU hadn’t been cut they most certainly would not have seen the same outcome.

Clown alert
Reply to  cblvr
1 year ago

Even so, how does winning a championship even with only 5 teams in the conference for the first time in 13 years count as “running the team into the ground”? It doesn’t.

Stella Moore
1 year ago

I hope Miami athletics investigates that HBC forced 4 female divers off of team this year. Did this help her get rid of KR? One would wonder ..

Reply to  Stella Moore
1 year ago

Can you elaborate on that? I’ve heard she wanted someone new to coach diving and KR definitely didn’t choose to leave. My daughter was being heavily recruited until his departure. We loved the school itself, but she certainly won’t commit or continue to pursue a school that doesn’t have a coach.

1 year ago

KR loved Miami and had no desire to leave the program. Getting out from under HBC’s dictatorship with be the best thing for him. He wasn’t able to make a single decision for the divers this last year for fear of losing his job. HBC is nothing but a bully and tries to intimidate every athlete and coach on that team. She thrives on power. She represents nothing that Miami stands for. Any athlete considering joining her team should most definitely do their research.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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