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.
2007 Paragon Award / Competitive Diving
Todd Smith (USA) / Executive Director, USA Diving
As one of very few persons in the world to be all things to an Olympic sport - competitor, coach and national administrator, Todd Smith has had a rare and unique career in diving. In a career that spans almost 45 years of his 55 years of age, Todd has been able to participate on all levels in the sport which he loves and to which he has given so much in return.
Smith is a graduate of Ohio State University where he dove for Hall of Fame coach Ron O'Brien. Todd was a three-time NCAA All- American and a 1972 NCAA National Champion on the 1 meter springboard. During his senior year, he was co-captain of the Ohio State Swimming and Diving Team.
Upon graduation, he attended law school in California while continuing his diving with another Hall of Fame coach, Glenn McCormick and competing as a member of the U.S. National Diving Team through 1976. In 1977, the Mission Viejo Nadadores hired the team of Todd Smith and Ron O'Brien as diving coaches. Todd served as coach the first year and was joined by Ron in 1978. Then, Ray Bussard at the University of Tennessee hired Todd to coach the college diving team, a position he held until taking the reigns at United States Diving in 1981. He was coach to several national and international champion divers.
As Executive Director of USA Diving for 27 years, Todd was instrumental in much of its growth. He developed a budget more than ten times its original size and initiated the U.S. Diving Foundation to help sustain funds for diving. With the development of a Trust Fund, he helped bring U.S. Diving from amateur status to more open funding for its athletes so that they could compete longer and extend their careers. He solicited and negotiated sponsor relationships with Speedo America, United Airlines, General Motors, Bank of America, Texaco, Colorado Time Systems, Phillips Petroleum, McDonalds, Olin Corporation, Alamo Rent A Car and Pan American Airlines.
Todd established a trusting and supporting relationship with the United States Olympic Committee and developed a program which continues to bring funding and assistance to diving. Since 1981, he has budgeted for and overseen the operation of the International Diving Grand Prix, the world's annual premier international diving competition. To provide technical support for U.S. coaches and competitors, he hired his college coach and nine-time Olympic diving coach Ron O'Brien as National Technical and High Performance Director.
Though unusual for a staff member of a volunteer-driven organization to receive an award, Smith was honored in 1990 with the inaugural Phil Boggs Memorial Award which recognizes an individual who has achieved individual excellence in diving and has given back a part of himself to ensure the sport's continuation and success.