Clarence Pinkston (USA)
Honor Coach (1966)
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES (Diver): 1920 gold (platform), silver (springboard); 1924 bronze (springboard, platform); OLYMPIC GAMES (Coach): Coach of Olympic champions and world record holders in both swimming and diving, including wife Betty Becker Pinkston; AAU CHAMPIONSHIPS (Diver): 5 (platform); 2 (springboard).
Clarence Pinkston was Olympic tower champion in 1920, won a total of four diving medals in 1920 and 1924. He was the first of Ernst Brandsten’s great Stanford divers with five successive AAU platform championships and two on springboard. He married double Olympic diving winner Betty Becker, coaching her to her second win, then went on to coach numerous swimmers and divers to Olympic prominence from the Detroit Athletic Club. He then began promoting Olympic swim trials through the D.A.C. “Beavers” raising large sums of money to send U.S. swimming teams to Olympic Games abroad.
“Pinky” was voted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a coach, but would have made it either as a diver or outstanding contributor. His coaching philosophy was greatly influenced by Bill Bachrach, another 1966 Hall of Fame honoree. Each believed in the one swimmer-one coach theory of coaching; that is, that maximum performance is only possible with concentration. Pinkston ate, slept and shared every moment in and out of the pool with his champion, leading up to the big meet.
He took such outstanding swimmers as 1952 Olympic champion Clark Scholes and 1956 silver medalist Dick Hanley, bringing them to the fine line of psychological and physical readiness that might produce a world-beating effort. This was even more true of diving where he worked with his wife, with 1936 champion Dick Degener, and many others.