KongRong Li is entering his fifth season as Miami University's head diving coach after winning three-straight MAC Diving Coach of the Year awards.
In 2008-09, Li received his first MAC Diving Coach of the Year award. Under his guidance, Chris Heaton won his 7th and 8th consecutive MAC championships and 4th straight MAC Diver of the Year award, while freshmen Cameron Horner and Jimmy Beres earned All-MAC first team and second team honors, respectively. At the end of the season, both Heaton and Beres qualified for the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships.
Li has 32 years of collegiate, national and international coaching experience to Miami and before coming to Miami, spent the previous six seasons as the co-head diving coach at U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus.
Head women's swimming coach Dave Jennings remarked on Li's background and ability.
"We are very fortunate to have someone of Li's ability, from coaching Olympians to some of the best divers in the country, joining our coaching staff. He is a class act and will make a great addition to our program."
Joining the U.S. Diving Elite Academy in 2001, Li served as the co-head diving coach for six seasons and helped more than 20 divers move on to the collegiate ranks. Since 2004, Li coached numerous athletes who went on to dive at Division I institutions in the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.
Notable athletes that Li mentored included six-time U.S. Junior National Champion Burkley Showe (Ohio State), six-time junior national qualifier Corey Gerlach (Auburn), six-time U.S. Junior National Champion Chelsea Davis (Northwestern) and four-time Ohio state finalist Jackie Apple (Virginia). All told, Li's athletes earned 13 NCAA athletic scholarships in just the past two seasons (2005-06).
Since 2002, Li mentored eight high school state champions, including the 2006 men's state champions in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Li also has achieved success at the national and junior national levels, guiding the junior team to five straight top-three finishes (2002-06) and helping the national team to three consecutive top-three showings, including a first-place finish in 2006. Additionally, Li served as the head coach of the junior world championship team in 2004.
Head men's swimming coach Pete Lindsay also commented on the hiring of Li.
"We are very excited about KR joining the staff. He has a breadth of knowledge and international experience which will enable Miami's divers to compete at the highest levels of NCAA and national competition. The Nixon Center diving pool will be a very exciting place this season."
Prior to working at U.S. Diving Elite, Li spent seven years (1995-2001) at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), which is Australia's elite diving program. While at AIS, Li earned a Level 3 accreditation from the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS), which is awarded to coaches with the ability to coach athletes at the international level, and worked with 2004 Olympic gold medalist Chantelle Newbery, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Matthew Helm and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Robert Newbery. Li helped develop the training program that aided Australia in lifting its international standing to No. 2 in the world after the 2004 Olympic Games. Li additionally worked with Diving Australia to conduct a Talent Identification Program and participated in Australia's national camps, which were held annually for the national and developmental squad athletes.
KONGRONG LI QUICK FACTS: Hired as Miami University men's and women's head diving coach on July 3, 2007 ... spent the last six seasons as co-head diving coach at the U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus ... brings 27 seasons of national and international coaching experience to Miami ... served as head coach of the United States Diving Team at the 2004 World Junior Championships ... coached internationally in China for 13 years and in Australia for seven years ... has worked with divers that have competed in the last three Olympic Games.
KONGRONG LI COACHING CREDENTIALS: Co-Head Diving Coach - U.S. Elite Diving Academy (2001-2007) Diving Coach - Australian Institute of Sport Elite Diving Program (1995-2001) Diving Coach - Beijing University of Sport (1983-1995)