Southern Methodist University
2015 Paragon Award / Competitive Diving
Jim Stillson’s life in the world of diving goes all the way back to when he attended Campbell High School and was named a High School All-American Diver. He went on to Ohio State University and dove under Hall of Famer, Ron O’Brien and earned NCAA All-American
honors his senior year in the three-meter competition.
Jim Stillson’s life in the world of diving goes all the way back to when he attended Campbell High School and was named a High School All-American Diver. He went on to Ohio State University and dove under Hall of Fame Coach Ron O’Brien and earned NCAA All-American honors his senior year in the three-meter competition. Jim Stillson knew from day one he wanted to coach. He began his coaching career at Columbia University in New York City. He eventually moved on to his lifelong career at Southern Methodist University. Jim is currently in his 31st year as Head Men and Women’s Diving Coach of the SMU Mustangs. Under Stillson, the men’s and women’s teams have won 32 combined conference championships.
In his 30+ years at SMU, Stillson has coached three Olympians, including 1992 Silver medalist Scott Donie, Tony Igelsias (1196) and Ali Al-Hasan (1996). Since 1970, Stillson has guided student-athlete divers to 88 All-American honors, including three NCAA Diver of the Year award winners. Stillson has coached four NCAA champions in seven different events, and since 1974, 10 U.S. National Champions have been crowned champion under the training of Coach Jim Stillson.
In 1990 and 1995, Stillson was named the NCAA Women’s Diving Coach of the Year and in 1998, he was named the NCAA Men’s Diving Coach of the Year. On the conference level, his success with his SMU athletes have earned 44 conference individual championships and numerous conference Diver of the Year awards. Stillson himself has earned 15 conference Diving Coach of the Year honors, most recently, in 2014 and 2015, thanks to the help of his Mustang Divers and Devin Burnett in particular, who swept the American Athletic Conference in all three diving events, in 2013-14 which led Burnett to be named the AAC’s 2014 Most Outstanding Diver.
Stillson has served the sports governing body, USA Diving in numerous capacities. He has served as one of the U.S.A. Diving National Team Coaches from 1987-1991 and again in 1997. Stillson has coached the U.S.A. National Diving Team in competition in Europe, Australia, China and the Soviet Union. He is a member of the NCAA Diving Committee.
During his years of serving the diving community, Jim Stillson has received different awards. He received the Mike Malone Memorial Award in 1992, given for outstanding contributions to diving by the national governing body of the sport, U.S.A. Diving. Stillson’s success earned him the United States Olympic Committee Diving Coach of the
Year Award in 1999.
Recipients of the