Derek Starks to Lead Diving Program at Cal

BERKELEY – Derek Starks has been named diving coach at the University of California where he will work with both the men’s and women’s programs and arrives in Berkeley following a three-year tenure at UNLV.

Starks brings extensive experience to the Golden Bears with more than 10 years in the coaching profession along with an All-American career at the University of Miami. In addition to his stint at UNLV, he served as National and International Team Director with Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving for six years and spent more than two years on the USA Diving Board of Directors. He has also been Head Coach of the High Stakes Diving Club in Las Vegas since 2014.

“I am ecstatic to join the well-established tradition of athletic and academic excellence at Cal,” Starks said “It is my honor to come and serve with some of the best coaches and student-athletes in the world, especially with the recent success of Cal swimmers in Rio. My goals for the diving team are to not only develop and recruit the best divers in Cal’s history, but for our combined experience to coalesce into a tradition of excellence that perpetually exceeds any previous season. With our new facility, our divers will be able to gain exposure at the highest levels of training and competition. I look forward to our success together as a team.”

While at UNLV, Starks helped build Rebel diving into a competitive program, with the men’s team breaking every school record. This past year, senior Lucas James became the first diver in UNLV history to win a Western Athletic Conference championship on the platform, setting a league record during his performance. James was the first Rebel to win any conference diving event since 1987. Outside of the pool, both the men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs at UNLV were chosen CSCAA Scholar All-America teams for spring 2016 semester.

As coach at Mission Viejo, Starks helped the team win a total of 14 medals at age-group national championships and 26 junior national championship medals. He was a diving coach at the 2011 Junior Pan American Games. As a diver at Mission Viejo, Starks was a junior world bronze medalist and multiple-time national champion.

Starks earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration (entrepreneurship) from Miami in 2007. He was the 2006 ACC Diver of the Year and received All-American honors on platform in 2004 and ’05 and on the 1-meter board in 2006. As a freshman, he was named the Big East Most Outstanding Diver. Starks competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, the World Cup Team Trials and USA Diving Nationals.

Cal’s men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs are both coming off top-3 finishes at the 2016 NCAA Championships and have won a combined seven national team titles over the past eight years.

This story is courtesy of Cal Athletics.

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Now all they need is the diving towers to be finished at the new pool so the divers don’t have to drive to Stanford to train.


Even though I hate them as a team, it’s really hard to hate their perfect teeth/hair/tan


Congratulations to Cal and Derek!! Derek is a fantastic coach and mentor- I look forward to seeing great things from Cal diving.

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