The Jeff Huber coaching tree continues to get bigger. Already a mentor to Purdue diving coach Adam Soldati and former Minnesota coach Jason Baumann, Huber will now have ties to the new Iowa coach after the Hawkeyes selected Todd Waikel to replace longtime diving coach Bob Rydze.
“I am honored to be a part of a great program, and I am looking forward to getting started as the Hawkeyes’ new coach,” said Waikel, who will begin his duties at Iowa on July 1. “I am confident great things are going to happen.”
Waikel comes to Iowa City with an impressive collegiate and national diving resume. He helped the Hoosiers to five Big Ten Conference titles (four women’s, one men’s) and three top 10 NCAA finishes in his seven seasons. He also has coached 10 USA Diving National Teams to titles since 2006.
Individually, Waikel has coached one NCAA champion, 47 All-Americans and 14 Big Ten champions during his collegiate coaching career. He also guided seven student-athletes to Big Ten Diver of the Year and Big Ten Diver of the Championship honors.
“We’re thrilled to have Todd join the Iowa swimming and diving program,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “He brings a wealth of elite coaching experience to Iowa City and his club and collegiate background make him an excellent fit for our program.”
In his final season at Indiana, Waikel coached six Indiana divers to 11 All-America honors. Darian Schmidt and Zac Nees earned All-America status on all three boards. Schmidt won the individual Big Ten title on the platform and was the Big Ten Diver of the Championship.
In 2010-11, Waikel was key in guiding the Indiana women’s squad to its third consecutive Big Ten title and Laura Ryan to her first win on the women’s platform.
In 2009-10, Waikel coached Gabby Agostino to her first Big Ten title, while helping IU to the women’s team title. Hoosier All-American Christina Loukas won a national title on the 3-meter springboard at the USA Diving Winter Nationals, and Amy Korthauer earned a spot on the U.S. National Team for the FINA World Cup in China.
In 2009, Waikel helped Loukas to Big Ten and NCAA titles on the 3-meter springboard, as well as NCAA Diver of the Year, Big Ten Diver of the Year and Big Ten Diver of the Championships honors. Brittney Feldman also finished third in the 3-meter at the NCAA meet to garner All-America recognition.
In 2008, Waikel’s divers captured four Big Ten titles, earning diver of the year, diver of the championship and coach of the year honors on both the men’s and women’s sides. Feldman captured conference titles in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard and went on to earn All-America honors in both events. Landon Marzullo won the same events on the men’s side and was an All-American in all three diving events.
In 2007, Loukas turned in one of the most dominant performances in Big Ten diving history, becoming just the fourth diver to win all three diving events at the meet. She earned Big Ten Diver of the Year and Diver of the Championship honors for the third straight season. Loukas went on to earn first team All-America honors after finishing as the runner-up in the 1-meter, while two other divers earned honorable mention recognition.
Loukas, a 2008 Olympian , won her first national title with a win in the 1-meter at the 2007 National Championships, and she defended that title in 2008 and 2009. She was also a silver medalist in the 3-meter and a bronze in the 3-meter synchro at the World University Games. Loukas was a seven-time USA National Champion and six-time Big Ten champion under Waikel’s watch.
Waikel helped the Indiana divers post impressive showings on both the Big Ten and NCAA levels during his first season in Bloomington. Brian Mariano and Loukas both earned Big Ten Co-Diver of the Year and Co-Diver of the Championship honors. Two men’s divers earned All-America recognition, while Loukas was an All-American on all three boards.
On the national scene, Waikel has been in leadership positions throughout his career. He has been a team leader on the 1997 Italy Dive Tour in Rome, Itally, and the 1999 Alpine Dive Tour in Stroudsburg, France. He also was the 2010 USA Diving team leader/coach at the FINA Grand Prix in Montreal and the 2011 USA Diving Team coach at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China.
Prior to joining the Hoosiers, Waikel was considered one of the top junior coaches in the country. During his 15 year tenure as a junior coach, Waikel worked with some of the top JO divers from beginner to JO All-American and champions.
Waikel, who is a safety certified, U.S. Diving Grassroots and Dive Safe instructor, graduated from Purdue University in 1994 with a degree in speech communications. He and his wife, Marlene, are the parents of nine children: Damian, Hannah, Nathan, Dominic, Jonah, Paul, Christopher, Clare and Vincent.