The Hokies welcome head diving coach Ron Piemonte back for his ninth season in Blacksburg. Piemonte brings over 30 years of diving and coaching experience, spanning throughout all levels of the sport. His impressive resume as a coach has brought him national and international recognition as one of the top coaches in the United States.
Under Piemonte’s guidance, the H2Okie diving squad has sprouted to one of the top teams in the nation. Last season, he was named ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year after his female divers earned 208 team points at the ACC Championship and his male divers earned 189 points to help produce nine top-five finishes which included three bronze and two gold medals.
In 2014, the H2Okies sent three male and three female divers to the NCAA Championship for the second-straight year. Seven performances earned All-America honors as Kaylea Arnett and Ryan Hawkins were named All-Americans in all three of their diving events. Arnett broke into the H2Okie record book when she took home Virginia Tech’s first NCAA diving medal after winning the bronze in the 1-meter event.
Piemonte’s coaching has thrived at developing young divers quickly and springing divers into national success. Freshman and sophomore divers under Piemonte’s guidance have earned seven All-America honors and five ACC gold medals. In the last two years alone, he has sent six freshmen and sophomore divers to the NCAA Championships. This past season, T.J. Shinholser became the first freshman All-American at Virginia Tech when he finished eighth in the platform event.
Over the past two seasons Piemonte has developed two of Tech’s most decorated divers, Logan Shinholser and Arnett, who have combined for an NCAA bronze medal, 12 All-America performances and 15 ACC medals, including seven ACC gold medals. Both divers have been named ACC Male/Female Diver of the Year.
Arnett shined at the 2014 ACC Championships as she was named the ACC Female Diver of the Year for the third-straight season. The 3-meter champion and three-time 1-meter champion led the H2Okie women with 91 points at ACCs. She continued her success at the NCAA Championships, where she scored 24 points for the H2Okies and grabbed a bronze medal in the 1-meter event.
In 2012, Logan Shinholser just missed rewriting the ACC record book as he was .7 platform points away from becoming the first conference diver to sweep all three events at the 2012 ACC Championships. The Burtonsville, Maryland, native was victorious in the 1-meter and 3-meter events and was named the ACC Male Diver of the Year. In addition to Shinholser, Hawkins completed the Tech sweep at the conference championship with a gold medal in the platform event. As a whole, Piemonte led the male divers to 109 points at the ACC Championship to help the men place second overall.
On the international level, Piemonte was named one of the USA’s national coaches at both Grand Prix events in 2012. He coached his top duo of Shinholser and Hawkins to a bronze medal in the synchronized platform event.
In 2005, Piemonte was voted the Most Outstanding Age Group Diving Coach in the United States. Prior to joining Tech, he spent five seasons at Moss Farms Diving, where he produced six different East National Champions, two YMCA National Champions, three different high school state champions, as well as three different divers who represented the United States in international competitions - one of whom was a bronze medalist on platform in the Junior Pan-Am Championships in Belem, Brazil. Besides coaching, for the last five years Piemonte has been the Vice President in charge of junior diving for USA Diving. For the last eight years, he has been an instructor for coaches in safety certification and in all levels of educating and certifying coaches in belt spotting over trampoline, dry board and water.
Piemonte served 10 years at the Tualatin Hills Dive Club in Beaverton, Oregon, where his divers attained a high level of achievement. There, he coached many junior national finalists, senior national qualifiers and finalists, junior and senior national team members who represented the United States in international competitions, two junior national champions, three Junior World Championship qualifiers (one bronze medalist) and an Olympic Trials finalist in 2000 on platform.
Piemonte was recognized as the Region 10 Coach of the Year and Zone D Coach of the Year in 1999. He is a six-time U.S. National Team coach and was ranked as one of the top-10 Junior Olympic coaches in the country by the International Olympic Committee of U.S. Diving.
Prior to his stint in Oregon, Piemonte split six seasons of coaching between Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In Albuquerque, he was the head coach for men and women at the University of New Mexico while running an age group team of about 20 divers. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, he developed a very strong club program that consistently had both junior and senior national qualifiers and finalists.
As a diver, Piemonte competed at the national level from 1974 to 1985. As an athlete at Arizona State University, he was a Pac-10 champion, runner-up and NCAA finalist. One of the highlights of his career was being able to train under the Japanese Olympic coach during his entire senior year of college.
Piemonte has been married for 29 years to his wife, Tina, and has three children: Rachele, Leah and Ronnie. His oldest daughter, Rachele, has recently graduated from Virginia Tech, finishing second in the chemistry honors program. Ronnie is a three-time Virginia AA High School State Champion and record holder. Leah has just completed her freshman year as a diver at Virginia Tech.