Keith Russell: Mormon Coach

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Keith Russell Mormon Coach

Keith Russell is a former diver who competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City, Mexico, where he placed fourth in the 10-meter. He also participated in the 1972 and 1976 U.S. Olympic trials. He served as the only American diving judge in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China.

Russell is a retired collegiate diving coach and led the Brigham Young University divers for over twenty years. During his first season, two of his divers earned All-America status. Throughout his coaching career, he was one of the most successful coaches at BYU—his athletes garnered numerous All-America honors and conference titles, and two competed in Olympic Games (Rachelle Kunzel and Justin Wilcock). He earned fourteen Mountain West Conference Diving Coach of the Year awards. He was also named diving coach for the 1999 and 2001 US squad at the World Student University Games. He was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1994.

Russell was born on January 15, 1948, and was raised in Mesa, Arizona. While attending Arizona State, in 1967 he won a silver medal at the World University Games on the 10-meter platform and a gold medal on the 3-meter board. That same year he also competed in the Pan American Games, where he won the silver medal in the 3-meter. In 1968, he won the NCAA 3-meter diving championships while attending Arizona State. He was inducted into the Mesa City Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

After the 1968 Olympics and after serving a full-time mission to Chile for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he transferred to BYU and won All-America diving honors in 1972. He was a two-time WAC champion on the 1-meter board (1971, 1972), the 3-meter WAC champion in 1972, and placed fourth in the 10-meter at the 1972 NCAA Championships.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in business in 1973, then placed second on the platform and third on the 3-meter springboard at the 1974 World Championships. He founded the Mesa Desert Divers and was head coach for ten years. He was president of the Arizona Diving Association and president of the Professional Diving Coaches Association and a member of the U.S. Diving Board of Directors. He also coached at the University of Utah from 1979 to 1981.

Russell and his wife, Marsha, are the parents of six children.