Men’s and women’s diving will return to the IUP athletics lineup in time for the 2021-22 season.
“We are excited to bring diving back to our men’s and women’s swimming programs,” said Todd Garzarelli, IUP director of athletics. “This addition builds on our nationally-competitive programs that coach (Chris) Villa has built as we continue our goal of fielding championship-caliber teams. Adding diving also gives us another avenue to bring in high-quality student-athletes who excel both in the classroom and in the pool.”
IUP also hired Trish Brownlee as an assistant coach to oversee the men’s and women’s divers.
IUP discontinued men’s and women’s diving in the mid-1990s due to facility safety concerns. It briefly made a return in the 2006-07 season under then-first year head coach Chris Villa, but the specialty did not last the full season.
The 2021-22 season will mark the first time in 15 years that IUP will field competitive divers.
Brownlee brings a long history of competitive and coaching success to campus.
“We are thrilled to add Trish to our coaching staff,” said Villa. “She brings instant credibility with a long history of leadership as a coach in addition to her success as a champion diver at Pitt.”
In more than 18 years as a high school diving coach, Brownlee has coached nearly 30 Pennsylvania state meet qualifiers, with several finishing among the top eight state medalists.
Most recently, she coached divers at Latrobe, Blairsville-Saltsburg, Derry, Ligonier Valley and Richland.
“I am so excited and looking forward to coaching the diving program at IUP,” said Brownlee.
“With my diving experiences at the Division I level and over 15 years of coaching, my goal is to make IUP the best swimming and diving program not only in Pennsylvania, but nationally as well.”
Brownlee is a 1989 graduate of Pit t, where she won five individual Big East diving championships and was a two-time NCAA championship qualifier. She is a member of the school’s Varsity Walk as the winner of the 1988 Panther Award given to an outstanding graduating senior athlete.
In addition to her work as a high school coach, Brownlee also runs Derry Flip & Twist Diving Club, instructing divers age 7 through the college level from regional counties in the state.
Villa and the IUP swimming programs are coming off a successful shortened 2021 spring season, winning the women’s Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship while also combining for nine individual and three relay All-American honors at the NCAA Division II Championships.
Rising senior Paige Mikesell won the national title in the 200 freestyle and earned several postseason honors, including PSAC Women’s Swimming Athlete of the Year.
Luke Mikesell earned All-American honors, won two conference titles, and was named the PSAC Men’s Swimming Freshman of the Year.