The Hokies welcome head diving coach Ron Piemonte back for his seventh season in Blacksburg. Piemonte brings over 30 years of diving and coaching experience, spanning throughout all levels of the sport, including most recently at the international level. His impressive resume as a coach has brought him national and international recognition as one of the top coaches in the United States. He brings in several highly touted recruits every season.
Under Piemonte’s guidance, the Hokie diving squad has sprouted to one of the top teams in the nation. Last season, Tech’s most decorated diver Logan Shinholser just missed rewriting the ACC record book as he was .7 platform points away from becoming the first ever conference diver to sweep all three events at the 2012 ACC Championships. The junior was victorious in the 1-meter and 3-meter events and was named the ACC Male Diver of the Year.
In addition to Shinholser, sophomore Ryan 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 women’s side, Kaylea Arnett became Tech’s first woman ACC diving champion. The freshman won the 1-meter event and collected the bronze medal in the platform event to be named the ACC Female Diver of the Year. The women brought in a total of 135 team points at the 2012 ACC Championships.
Piemonte set a school record with leading five divers to the NCAA Championships last season. The Hokies finished with four divers earning All-American honors, including Shinholser who earned the status in all three events to set a program record.
On the international level, Piemonte was named one of the USA’s national coach at both Grand Prix events in 2012. He coached his top-duo Shinholser and Hawkins to a bronze medal in the synchronized platform event.
In 2010, Piemonte led four divers to the NCAAs, including Tech’s first female diver since 1982. Among the trio of male divers, Shinholser became Tech’s first diver to earn All-America honors and the second male H2Okie ever to go All-American. Sarah Milton, Tech’s first female diver to qualify for NCAAs in 1982, competed in all three diving events. Milton placed 32nd in the 1-meter and 23rd in the 3-meter and the platform.
Mikey McDonald became the first Hokie diver ever to qualify for the NCAA Championships while registering three top-20 finishes at the competition in 2008 and earning Honorable Mention All-America status in the one-meter and platform events. McDonald returned to the Championships in 2009, posting two top-15 finishes and collecting Honorable Mention All-America status for the second-straight year, this time in the one- and three-meter events.
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 four years Ron has been the Vice President in charge of junior diving for USA Diving. For the last seven 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, dryboard, and water.
Piemonte served ten years at the Tualatin Hills Dive Club in Beaverton, Ore., 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, Ariz., and Albuquerque, N.M. 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 27 years to wife, Tina, and has three children: Rachele, Leah and Ronnie. His oldest daughter Rachele is currently working on her PHD at Virginia Tech and Leah and Ronnie are both highly ranked divers and compete at the junior national level of U.S. Diving. Leah will be attending Virginia Tech next fall.