Wenbo Chen, the head coach and associate director of USA Diving’s National Training Center since 2005, has accepted a position as diving coach at the University of Minnesota. Chen will begin his duties at the University of Minnesota on Aug. 3, but will continue to be involved with USA Diving while in Minnesota. Wenbo Chen, the head coach and associate director of USA Diving’s National Training Center since 2005, has accepted a position as diving coach at the University of Minnesota. Chen will begin his duties at the University of Minnesota on Aug. 3, but will continue to be involved with USA Diving while in Minnesota.
“We are so fortunate to hire someone of Wenbo’s caliber and we welcome him to the Golden Gopher family,” said University of Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi. “He has earned an outstanding reputation internationally, in the United States and Big Ten and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Minnesota. He has worked with some of the greatest divers in the world and we know that our student-athletes will benefit from his talent.”
Chen was named assistant coach for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for diving after three of his divers were named to the squad – Haley Ishimatsu on 10-meter and synchronized 10-meter, and Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse in synchronized 3-meter.
“Wenbo Chen is a tremendous coach and has played an instrumental role in our rebuilding efforts,” USA Diving CEO Debbie Hesse said. “We will certainly miss him, but we are very excited that he has agreed to help us with various USA Diving programs, camps and clinics in the future.”
“Minnesota is well-known as the best Big Ten program and one of the best in the nation,” Chen said. “Minnesota has everything that a coach is looking for with the facility, the administration and the swimming coaches. In addition, the community support at Minnesota for swimming and diving is excellent. These are the things that my family and I were looking for.”
Chen will be making a return to the college ranks, having served as head diving coach at Purdue University from 2001-2005.
“I am really excited about returning to college coaching. I?miss the teamwork between the swimmers and divers and the support network that you have in an athletic department. I am also excited about the combination of recruiting and coaching. Minnesota offers me the situation that I have been looking for.”
In 2007, Chen served as a USA coach at the World Championships and Pan American Games as well as several other international meets. His divers claimed four of the seven U.S. medals won at the 2007 Pan Am Games, highlighted by silver medals from Ishimatsu on 10-meter and Bryant/ Rittenhouse in synchronized 3-meter. He was also a coach at the 2008 World Cup in Beijing, where Bryant and Rittenhouse won a bronze medal in synchro.
“It’s a great catch for the U of M,” head men’s coach Dennis Dale said. “When the job opened up, he was the person that we thought if he was available, he would be a dream coach for us. He has done it all already. He has coached Big Ten Champions, NCAA Champions and Olympians. He has coached at all levels.”
Chen succeeds Jason Baumann, who resigned his position last month after four years as diving coach.
Wenbo Chen Coaching Timeline
Head Coach, USA?Diving National Training Center
Head Coach, Purdue University
Head Coach, Moss Farms Diving Tigers Club
Interim Head Coach, Florida State University
Assistant Coach, Moss Farms Diving Tigers Club
Head Coach, Edmonton Diving Club
Coach, Chinese National Team/Olympic Training Camp
Head Coach, Henan Provincial Team (China)