HomeSportsHobie Billingsley, Coach of a Diving Dynasty, Dies at 95 | gadgetfee

Hobie Billingsley, Coach of a Diving Dynasty, Dies at 95 | gadgetfee

Hobie Billingsley, who taught himself to dive from charts on the wall of a Y.M.C.A. earlier than changing into a nationwide champion within the sport after which a celebrated coach, forging a nationwide diving dynasty at Indiana College and gold medal winners within the Olympics, died on Saturday. He was 95.

His loss of life was introduced by Indiana College’s athletics division. It didn’t say the place he died.

Within the Thirties and ’40s, Ohio State, coached by Mike Peppe, produced America’s finest divers, and infrequently the world’s. One was Billingsley, who as a freshman gained nationwide collegiate titles for Ohio.

From 1959 via 1989, he coached the divers at Indiana College, working with James (Doc) Councilman, the eminent swimming coach there. In Billingsley’s 31 seasons in Bloomington, his divers gained 115 nationwide titles, together with six N.C.A.A. championships, as Indiana changed Ohio State because the collegiate diving chief.

Amongst his divers have been Ken Sitzberger and Lesley Bush, each of whom gained gold medals on the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, and Cynthia Potter, who holds the file of 28 United States girls’s titles. He additionally coached Mark Lenzi, a former highschool wrestler and someday diver, who gained an Olympic gold medal in 1992 in Barcelona.

Billingsley was a fast-talking extrovert, peppery and tireless. “He’s type of a renegade, a crusader who will strive something,” Bob Clotworthy, an Olympic diving champion and coach, advised Sports activities Illustrated in 1966. “Folks resent somebody who’s progressive, and Hobie is progressive.”

As Sports activities Illustrated defined: “Billingsley’s progressive ideas in regards to the legal guidelines of movement as they apply to diving are the paramount situation in a sport that, earlier than he confirmed up, had drifted alongside as unscientifically as a swan on a summer season lake. In his teaching, the superscientific Billingsley speaks about linear movement, transitory movement and double-axis displacement so simply and convincingly that one would by no means suspect he received a 22 on his school physics ultimate.”

Nice belief and rapport is required between diver and coach as a result of nearly each dive has imperfections, and coaches need to level them out to their divers whereas not discouraging them. Billingsley did that properly, and his divers cherished him.

His first nationwide champion was Rick Gilbert, in 1962. As Gilbert recalled, “Hobie bought me on Indiana College, what he deliberate to do and, most of all, on Hobie Billingsley.”

Gilbert grew to become the swimming and diving coach at Cornell. Dozens of Billingsley’s pupils fashioned the following era of American diving coaches.

Hobart Sherwood Billingsley was born on Dec. 2, 1926, in Erie, Pa. (Some sources record his delivery 12 months as 1927, however a draft registration card signifies that he was born in 1926.) He disliked his full first identify a lot that he by no means used it and, by his account, tried to alter it.

His household was poor, and he remembered sneaking via alleys in order that nobody would see him bringing dwelling free government-surplus meals. One other of his often-repeated boyhood reminiscences was going to the native Y.M.C.A. in Erie and studying to dive by finding out charts on the partitions.

He grew to become the primary highschool diver to win a medal in an Newbie Athletic Union nationwide championship, ending third. He gained an athletic scholarship to Ohio State, however after his freshman 12 months he thought-about transferring to Yale Divinity Faculty. As a substitute, he was referred to as up by the Military and served two years.

In 1947 Billingsley returned to Ohio State, the place he was a diver, gymnast and cheerleader, and earned a level in bodily training in 1951. In 1953, he obtained a grasp’s diploma from the College of Washington, additionally in bodily training.

His first teaching jobs have been in excessive faculties in California and Michigan, from 1953 to 1957, overseeing swimming, diving and gymnastics applications and educating bodily training. His authentic beginning wage was $3,900 for educating (the equal of about $37,000 as we speak) and $500 for teaching.

He made ends meet by doing a comedy diving and a trampoline present with Bruce Harlan, an Olympic diving champion, till Harlan’s loss of life in 1959. (Harlan was collaborating in a diving exhibition in Fairfield, Conn., and whereas serving to to dismantle the diving tower fell 27 toes to his loss of life.) Billingsley then teamed up with Dick Kimball, one other coach, and for 15 summers they toured the USA, Canada and the Far East, with a aspect journey to Bermuda.

Harlan had turn into the primary full-time diving coach within the American school ranks when Michigan employed him in 1957; a month later, Billingsley grew to become the second when Ohio College, in Athens, employed him. He moved to Indiana after two years at Ohio.

Billingsley coached 5 Olympic groups — the USA girls in 1968, the U.S. males in 1972, Austria in 1976 and Austria and Denmark in 1980. After the 1972 Olympics, when the American males misplaced the three-meter springboard title for the primary time since 1912, he was so distraught that he wandered round Europe alone for nearly a month and determined to stop teaching earlier than altering his thoughts and returning dwelling.

Billingsley was voted the American diving coach of the 12 months seven consecutive years, (1964-70), and elected to the Worldwide Swimming Corridor of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1983. He served as an Olympic diving choose in 1992. He was the topic of a 1980 documentary movie, “Hobie’s Heroes.”

After retiring as a coach, he remained at Indiana as a trainer, recruiter and fund-raiser. He ran a summer season diving camp and coached coaches in the USA and overseas.

Details about his survivors was not instantly obtainable.

Frank Litsky, a longtime Instances sportswriter, died in 2018. William McDonald contributed reporting.

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