College Swimming and Diving
Rider Names Blevins Diving Coach
LAWRENCEVILLE--Eric Blevins has been named diving coach at Rider University, head coach and aquatics director Steve Fletcher announced.
Blevins comes to Lawrenceville after spending the past two seasons as diving coach at the University of Evansville.
"Eric fits well into the culture of our team and has already integrated into our staff," said Fletcher. "We were initially excited about Eric's experience as an athlete and coach, but getting to know him over the last few weeks in the pre-season has proven that he understands our commitment to team performance in a sport that is largely considered an individual sport. Eric has hit the ground running in recruitment, and we have plans to maintain our strong tradition of excellence on the boards."
Blevins inherits a program that saw two divers, Rider grad Tom Smallwood and then junior Brendan Cavallaro (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) qualify for NCAA Zones in 2011 with Cavallaro placing 10th on the three-meter.
"I'm pleased to become part of Rider University," said Blevins. "With my coaching experience and two seasons at Evansville, I thought this would be the next step up, competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference."
As coach for the Purple Aces, Blevins had three divers compete at NCAA Zones and two of his divers broke career records for the one-meter and three-meter.
"That was the first time since 1995 that Evansville had a diver go to Zones so I was quite pleased with the progress that I had in my two seasons there," said Blevins who was named Coach of the Year in the conference. "We also had the Diver of the Year which is the first time that had happened in the program's history."
Of the eight weeks that a Diver of the Week was named in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2010-11, seven were from Evansville.
Prior to serving with the Aces, Blevins was head diving coach at Minnesota State University where he coached three All-Americans and five NCAA qualifiers. While at MSU, Blevins was responsible for practices, diving recruitment, meet management and rehabilitation for swimmers and divers and the diving program was ranked as high as seventh in all of Division II.
Blevins began his coaching career at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and also coached at Saint Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., both on the Division III level.
Blevins competed collegiately at Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, where he was a two-time All-American and eight-time Midwest Conference Champion.
Blevins graduated from Grinnell College in 2004 with a degree in economics, and later received his master's in sports management from Minnesota State. He is certified to coach diving, football and track at the collegiate level and to be an instructor for Level I gymnastics and trampoline.
"The job interested me because Rider has already set a pretty high standard," Blevins said. "I want to take the standard and bump it up a bit and increase recruiting, especially on the female side to complement the men's team better."