Legendary Purdue Diving Coach Adam Soldati To Step Down After ALS Diagnosis

Longtime Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati is stepping down from his post after 19 years to focus on his health and spend more time with his family following his recent diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Four-time Olympic medalist David Boudia, who was previously coached by Soldati and has been working as an assistant diving coach at Purdue since 2021, will take over as head diving coach beginning next season.

Soldati has been at Purdue since 2005, establishing an indelible legacy on the diving program with numerous All-Americans, Big Ten championships, Big Ten Divers of the Year and Purdue Athletes of the Year.

Since 2009, Purdue divers have won 14 NCAA titles, the most recent being Tyler Downs in 2022.

Soldati will coach the Boilermakers through the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, and will assist Boudia as needed through the Olympic Games in Paris.

Soldati will transition into the role of “Director of Diving” in the short term as Boudia becomes head coach.

“Since the spring of 2005, Adam Soldati has invested every bit of himself into Purdue University and our incredibly successful diving program,” said Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Bobinski.

“He has impacted and provided counsel and leadership to countless people – student-athletes, families, fellow coaches and staff – in positive and extraordinary ways.

“And true to his persona, he has approached the unfathomable challenge of receiving life-altering news with dignity, faith, courage and optimism.  A testament to Adam’s steadfast and unwavering leadership of our diving program is that he has mentored and prepared David Boudia, a former Purdue student-athlete, to carry forward our tradition of success.  Adam’s positive imprint on this athletics department, this campus and this community is permanent. Our department will support Adam and his family throughout the journey ahead, and I know our Boilermaker community will do the same.”

Soldati was officially diagnosed with ALS in February after more than a year of doctor visits. Purdue Athletics said the swim & dive team members were informed in early April, after the conclusion of the 2023-24 NCAA postseason.

“As I reflect on my past 19 years with our Boilermaker family, I am overcome with gratitude and thankfulness,” Soldati said. “I rejoice in the relationships that Kimiko, our children and I have built here at Purdue and in Greater Lafayette. We have nothing but the greatest love and respect for so many people who have been part of our lives.

“I have always said that it’s not my job to create a champion but create an environment where you can become one. Purdue has afforded me that opportunity each and every year that I have been privileged to lead this program. The level of commitment by the administration to pursue excellence, invest in innovation and believe in dreams has been the fuel that ignited this program to one of the best in the country – and I am so appreciative that they took the chance on a young, passionate coach in 2005. From the administration, coworkers, support staff, facility crews and to my student-athletes and their families, this beautiful and robust environment at Purdue is a rare find in collegiate sports. The familial love, care and support is truly second to none.

“It brings tears to my eyes as I think of all the athletes I have had the opportunity to coach, pour into, and Lord willing, help guide them along their path to adulthood. I will cherish so many memories and moments, and I am certain the character-building success will continue under David’s leadership, passion and love for this program. Thank you, Boilermakers, for allowing me to love, serve and lead this program for so many years. I love you all and will pray for your continued growth and success. Even as I face my next season, I am a blessed man and am excited to see how God will use this disease to bring glory to His name.”

During his time training under Soldati, Boudia became Purdue’s most decorated athlete ever, winning four Olympic medals including gold in the men’s platform event at the 2012 Games in London. Boudia qualified for three Olympic teams, won five medals at the World Aquatics Championships, and claimed six NCAA titles working under Soldati.

“The legacy Adam Soldati has created with Purdue Diving is truly remarkable, and he will forever be the cornerstone on which our rich history and future is built,” Boudia said.

“I have been fortunate to have been a part of his legacy, both as one of his athletes and as a coach alongside him for the past 16 years. It has truly been a unique opportunity. I am humbled to step into the role of head coach and continue Adam’s legacy as we strive for excellence both in and out of the pool. Adam’s impact is immeasurable, and I am committed to building and expanding upon the foundation he has established.”

Soldati and his wife, U.S. Olympian Kimiko Hirai Soldati, have six children between thee ages of 10 and 18.

“As a coach, Adam has a unique gift for unlocking the potential in each of his athletes, nurturing their character and growth as both competitors and individuals,” said Kimiko Soldati. “Ask anyone who has encountered this winsome coach, and you will undoubtedly hear words like high integrity, humble, competitive, passionate, caring, safe, faith, hope and love. Adam’s robust faith is an inspiration to a multitude and his ability to mentor young athletes into adulthood has been a catalyst for many.

“Beyond the countless accolades, Adam is a beloved husband and father to our six children – Blake, Isaac, Maiya, Emiko, Noah and Rylie – and a cherished friend to all he encounters. He is a man who fiercely loves competition, sacrificially serves his family and community, and whose poise and affirmation always bring out the best in those around him. To know Adam is to like Adam. He is a man who loves life, embraces adversity, and has always found a way for obstacles and opposition to be the pathway to greater love, joy and personal growth.”

Kimiko continued: “Even as Adam shared this news with his athletes through tears, his undaunted spirit shone through. He encouraged them to let adversity make them beautiful, to have an unshakable foundation, and to live for something bigger than themselves. This is the essence of the man we love and admire.

“The road ahead for all eight of us is fraught with vast emotional and financial challenges. The staggering costs associated with ALS care and necessary home modifications for accessibility will create a burden, stretching our resources thin as we navigate this difficult journey. Amidst the grief and hardship, Adam and I take heart and are determined to embrace the life we have been given with gratefulness, guts and grit.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the Soldati family with their journey combatting ALS.

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Mark R. Lambert
1 month ago

Adam, I watched you dive for Indiana.
(Even officiated some of your last meets
as a student-athlete). It was fun to see you
find your wife, Kimiko, in the dive tank at
Bloomington, Indiana.

Thank you for what you have done for
diving at the collegiate as well as National
level! Your record will stand as an example
for future divers and coaches…

Always remember…
ALL of us in the diving community are pulling for you, and your family!

Michelle Hardy
1 month ago

Prayers to Coach Adam and his family.

1 month ago

Congrats on a great career! One of the best coaches in diving history.

1 month ago

Prayers for Adam and his family.

1 month ago

Rather than expressions concerning the difficult challenges which ALS presents, may I suggest that comments focus on the clearly stated, all-important themes of faith, family, and a supportive community for him and his loved ones.

1 month ago

My god this is awful. ALS is something from hell.

Prayers to him and his family.

Boiler Up
1 month ago

One of the worst diseases a person can face. God Speed to you and your family, Adam. Never give up!

1 month ago

Thoughts will be with him. Horrible disease. Great coach, better person.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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