Katie Hazelton has been named the next Pitt diving head coach, Director of Athletics Heather Lyke announced Thursday afternoon.
A native of Harpenden, England, Hazelton joins the Panthers after four-and-a-half years as the head coach of the Duke Diving Club in Durham, N.C. During her time at the helm of the program, Hazelton guided the Duke Diving Club to unprecedented success.
Under her reign, Duke divers won more than 10 national titles at youth levels and eight individuals went on to earn scholarships at Texas, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Ohio State, California, Indiana, Purdue and Pitt. In 2014, USA Diving recognized Duke Diving as its most improved club throughout the country.
“We are thrilled to welcome Katie to the Panther coaching staff,” Lyke said. “Katie brings solid knowledge and experience as a product of elite level diving and coaching. Her demeanor and focus on building great relationships with her athletes was evident during the interview process. We are confident she is going to help continue our swimming and diving program on the right trajectory.”
“Katie has all of the characteristics we were looking for in this position,” said John Hargis, who is entering his second season as head coach of the Pitt swimming and diving program. “She wants to help build Pitt swimming and diving as a whole with the aim of being at the forefront of the ACC in the very near future. Katie’s impressive coaching résumé, combined with a great passion for diving and key international connections that will help us in recruiting, made her the perfect fit.”
Prior to her coaching career in the United States, Hazelton spent time as the diving technical operations manager for the organizing committee for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. In this role, she spent a full year managing and organizing the diving events for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London, ensuring the event was conducted in accordance with international rules and regulations.
“I’m very excited to be named the diving coach at the University of Pittsburgh,” Hazelton said. “Throughout the interview process, I was extremely impressed and motivated by the administration’s ambitious vision for student-athlete development. I’m looking forward to transitioning into college coaching. Julian Krug has built a fantastic legacy, and I am eager to begin working with the student-athletes, John Hargis and Pitt’s staff to accomplish great things in the future. I also want to say how grateful I am to Heather Lyke, Jen Tuscano, Coach Hargis and the entire search committee for this opportunity.”
A 2005 sports science and physiology graduate of Leeds University, Hazelton is also a USA Diving certified coach. From 2010-11, she worked as an aquatics officer with the British swimming and diving governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), having previously served as a diving talent development officer with the organization from 2007-10.
Hazelton’s parents, Brian and Jackie, were both international diving coaches and judges, and they introduced her to the sport at the age of 5 at Luton Kingfishers outside of London. She won numerous diving national titles at the youth level in the United Kingdom before having to retire from the sport as a 17-year-old.
In announcing the hire of Hazelton, Coach Hargis also added another thanks to Julian Krug, who spent the previous 38 seasons at Trees Pool as a diving coach for the University of Pittsburgh.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we owe a great deal of gratitude to Julian and his wife, Doe, for their commitment to the Pitt program over the years,” Hargis said of the recently retired Krug. “They defined Pitt diving for so long, and we’re moving forward with Katie knowing that we have big shoes to fill. But now we look towards the future, seeking to develop more student-athletes here at Pitt that can compete for ACC and NCAA championships in swimming and diving.”
After the graduation of former NCAA champion Dominic Giordano, the Panthers could still boast two of the ACC’s premier divers next season in Meme Sharp on the women’s side and Joe Ference for the men.
The 2016 ACC 3-meter springboard champion, Sharp has qualified for the NCAA Championships in consecutive campaigns and will expect to compete for All-America honors as a senior in 2017-18. As a freshman, Ference advanced to the ACC 1-meter springboard final and showed significant improvement throughout the season on 3-meter and platform.
Press Release courtesy of Pitt Athletics.