The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems, are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.
2005 Paragon Award / Competitive Diving
Steve McFarland has done everything there is to do in diving: dive, coach, market, administer, broadcast and promote.
He started at age ten with coach Dick Smith at Dick's Swim gym in Phoenix. It gave him a foundation which he took back to Texas where he met and was inspired by divers Cynthia Potter, Cal Locke, Scott Pyle and Mike Malone. He almost chose trampoline over diving, but the NCAA dropped the sport. After two years at the University of Texas, he transferred to the University of Miami, diving for Tom Gompf and winning two AAU National Championships on platform, 1973, 1984 and two bronze medals at the World
University Games, 1974 in springboard and platform. In the summers he taught diving to kids in Tom's learn to dive program. He performed in comedy shows and became an athlete representative in diving's governing body, USA Diving.
His passion for the sport took him in many directions. He succeeded Tom as coach at Miami, where Steve worked with legendaries Greg Louganis and Phil Boggs and also coached four NCAA All-Americans (1977-1984). He was asked to be a television communicator for diving, broadcasting for NBC at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics (where the Pay Per View broadcast was the first complete live coverage of an Olympic Games), ESPN (1993-1996), Turner Broadcast Sports (1989-1992) and broadcasts with Outdoor Life Network, Prime Network FINA Video and HDTV Net. He was producer and narrator of "100 Years of Diving Success" shown at the successful 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, which he hosted and conducted.
As a volunteer and administrator, Steve has been Vice President of USA Diving (1985-1993, 2004-present) and served as President (1994-1998). He has been an Olympic Diving Judge at the 200 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games.
He was USA Diving Age Group Coach of the Year (1980). Steve, wife Beth (former Mission Viego diver) and sons Scott and Philip all have the passion for diving.