Former NCAA All-American and Big Ten Diver of the Year Darian Schmidt has been tabbed to lead the SMU men’s and women’s diving programs.
“I am honored to be the head diving coach at SMU,” Schmidt said. “SMU has a long lasting tradition for swimming and diving and I am very excited to work alongside Eddie [Sinnott] and Steve [Collins] to continue the success that they have achieved over the years.
“I wish Jim Stillson and his family luck and happiness in his retirement and I am excited to build upon his accomplishments at SMU. With the outstanding facilities, a beautiful campus and beautiful city, I believe that there is no ceiling here at this great University. SMU is a dream destination for my wife and I. I cannot wait to get started. Pony Up!”
Schmidt comes to the Hilltop after a season at American Athletic Conference member East Carolina, where he coached four Pirates to the NCAA Zone B Championships, one school record, 11 AAC Finals appearances and 11 career-best performances. On the men’s side, ECU won the AAC title.
During the 2014-15 season, Schmidt served as a student assistant coach at Indiana, and from 2009-16 he served on the staff at the TriSynerG Dive Camp with three-time Olympic coach Jeff Huber and 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach Drew Johansen.
As a student-athlete at Indiana, Schmidt was a four-time All-American and four-time Big Ten Champion. In 2013 and 2014, he was named the conference Diver of the Year, while earning Big Ten Diver of the Championships honors in 2012, 2013 and 2014. A member of the U.S. National Diving Team from 2013-16, Schmidt was selected for the Olympic Performance Squad from 2014-16, was a member of the 2015 World Championship team and was a five-time member of the Grand Prix team.
“I am very excited to have Darian join the SMU Mustangs,” head women’s swimming coach Steve Collins said. “Jim Stillson has left the program in a great place with a young group of very talented divers on the women’s team and one of the top divers in the country in Bryce Klein for the men’s program.
“The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center will be completed in the fall, so everything is in place for Darian to have great success and continue the legacy of conference and NCAA championships in diving for the Mustangs.”
Head men’s swimming coach Eddie Sinnott expressed his excitement for Schmidt to take over the SMU diving program as well.
“Darian is a young coach who is eager and excited to build upon the legacy of the SMU diving program. He was a talented diver and has had success early in his coaching career. We are confident that his transition to SMU will be a smooth one, and he will continue to build upon the success our student-athletes have had throughout the history of the program.”
A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Schmidt earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Indiana in 2015.
Schmidt takes over for Jim Stillson, who was at the helm of the program for 33 seasons. Stillson was named NCAA Coach of the Year three times and conference Coach of the Year on 16 occasions. He coached four individuals to eight NCAA Championships and 20 student-athletes to 71 All-America honors. He also mentored three NCAA Divers of the Year and 10 U.S. National Champions. Overall, SMU saw 21 of Stillson’s divers win 89 conference championships.
“I’m very excited for Darian to join the SMU family,” Stillson said. “I think he’s going to do a tremendous job building on the success that our student-athletes have achieved. Darian is well-respected among coaches in the diving community, and his success as a student-athlete and a coach will help him transition successfully to his position on the Hilltop. He has the drive and determination necessary to excel at SMU.”
Press Release courtesy of SMU Athletics.