March 31, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After leading Arizona State in what was arguably the best diving season in school history, Mark Bradshaw has been named the 2003 NCAA Men's Diving Coach of the Year. Bradshaw was presented with the honor following a campaign that saw him guide freshman diver Joona Puhakka to an NCAA national championship on the 1-meter springboard and a top-three finish on the 3-meter springboard.
"I'm pretty surprised," said Bradshaw of the award. "There may have been some other people who were more deserving, but this is really nice; it is an honor."
Under Bradshaw's tutelage, Puhakka achieved phenomenal success during his initial year in Tempe. In addition to his national championship, the native of Finland set three school records (1-meter optionals 395.80; 3-meter, 6-dive 387.90; 3-meter, 11-dive 650.70), won both the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the Pac-10 Championships and took first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events at the Zone E Diving Championships.
Bradshaw saw his prot?g? go the entire season without being beaten on the 1-meter springboard and also become the first male diver in Sun Devil history to win two Pac-10 championships in the same year.
"This is what we brought Joona here to do," explains Bradshaw. "And he didn't disappoint."
Puhakka's exceptional NCAA meet saw him score points in every diving discipline to total 37 points for the meet and make a huge contribution to the team's overall finish of 11th. His title on the 1-meter came in a dominating, almost 40-point win, while he was barely seven points shy of the 3-meter national title.
Sun Devil Swimming Head Coach Mike Chasson feels the recognition Bradshaw is receiving is well deserved.
"I think it's a real credit to Mark's coaching ability, how he took an athlete who is in his first year here and take him to the achievement of a national championship," said Chasson. "It was absolutely critical to the team's success at the NCAAs having Joona perform so well."
Bradshaw's success this year was not confined to the men's side. He coached first-year Sun Devil Trisha Tumlinson to a third place finish at the NCAAs on the platform and saw her break school records on the 1-meter optionals (300.25) and the platform (456.55). In his six-year tenure at Arizona State, Bradshaw has coached divers to nine school records.
Bradshaw's achievements in the coaching ranks come after an enormously successful competitive career. As a collegiate diver at Ohio State, he achieved All-American honors all four years on both the 1-meter and 3-meter, including an NCAA 3-meter championship in 1983. Twice named a Big Ten Diver of the Year, Bradshaw has been a member of the Buckeye Hall of Fame since 1993.
The Springfield, Ore. native also experienced national and international success as a U.S. National Team member from 1981 to 1996. Bradshaw is a seven-time National Champion and was named the U.S. Diving/Phillips 66 Diver of the Year for 1990 and also the 1993 USOC Diver of the Year.
Bradshaw represented the United States at the highest level, the 1988 Olympics, where he placed fifth on the 3-meter.
The last coach at Arizona State to earn national coach of the year honors was baseball coach Pat Murphy, who was named the 1998 Baseball America Coach of the Year after leading the Sun Devils to a second place finish at the College World Series.