KZ Li Tabbed as New Louisville Head Coach After Departure from Michigan

Former Michigan head diving coach KZ has been announced as the new head diving coach at Louisville a month after Michigan announced his resignation there. Li replaces Mike Zehnder, a Louisville alumni who also serves as the program’s aquatics director.

Li spent four seasons as the head coach at Michigan, and in that time sent two female and no male divers to the NCAA Championships.

“First of all, on behalf of UofL Swimming and Diving, I want to thank Mike Zehnder for his many years of service to our program, said Louisville head swimming coach Arthur Albiero. “We are thrilled to welcome KZ to our Cardinal Swimming and Diving Family. We conducted an extensive national search and we are very excited to add KZ’s enthusiasm and passion for high level performance to our staff. He clearly understands collegiate diving, and his experiences both personal (as an Olympic medalist) and a coach at a number of high level environments, will impact our program day one! We are committed to being very successful in swimming and diving, and we believe the next few years will be very exciting as we join the ACC.”

Li’s coaching resume is extensive and global. Among his major stops:

  • Texas Aquatics head diving coach
  • Team Orlando (won 1996 USA Diving Junior National Championships, also coached 4 US Senior National Champions in 4 years there)
  • USA Diving National Team coaching duties (three Diving World Cups, 1995 Pan Am Games, 1998 & 2001 World Championships).
  • 1994 USA Diving Junior Olympic Coach of the Year
  • 1996 USA Diving Coach of Excellence Award
  • University of Minnesota head coach 1996-2003
  • National Training Centre of Diving in Melbourne, Australia head coach
  • Co-head coach of U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus, Ohio
  • Michigan head coach 2010-2014

Louisville has a young diving squad returning from last year, though the fortunes of the diving program has been up-and-down. At the 2013 Big East Championship meet, the Louisville men’s divers won both the 1-meter and 10-meter titles, however last season, neither the men or women had the same impact at the re-branded AAC Championships. With the 2014-2015 season bringing admission to the ACC conference, a conference which at present is loaded with divers, a strong diving squad is an important part of competing for conference titles, as Virginia Tech demonstrated last year.

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7 years ago

Any idea why things didn’t work out for him at Michigan?

6 years ago

Better situation at the University of Louisville.

6 years ago

Good News for Louisville!! 1999-2002 took my son to State Champ 3 times setting new records each time. KZ quote “Some times the coach pushes the diver ,but some times the diver pushes the coach.”

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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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