Ward O’Connell (left) served as ASU’s head diving coach from 1974-1997. Under the direction of O’Connell, 11 Sun Devils earned All-American honors for a total of 15 accolades. ASU diving accumulated 10 individual Pacific-10 Conference titles, three Western Athletic Conference champions and one Western Collegiate Athletic Association champion during O’Connell’s 22 years as head coach. Over his career, O’Connell served as a collegiate diving coach for 31 years.
While at Arizona State, O’Connell had the pleasure of coaching Drew Johansen (right). After his competitive career was over, Johansen also took up coaching where he is the current head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. More notably, he is also the head coach of the USA Olympic diving team. Johansen has had two divers medal in the competition with still more diving to come.
Drew (second from the left) and teammates showing off medals at the Pac-10 Championships.
O’Connell’s coaching legacy undoubtably inspired Johansen himself to pursue a coaching career. With Johansen’s coaching experience reaching a global platform, who knows how many people he too will touch upon. It’s nice to know Ward O’Connell had a gift that keeps on giving, and it can all be traced back to a Sun Devil.