Dick Smith (USA)

Honor Coach (1979)

The information on this page was written the year of their induction.

FOR THE RECORD:  Women’s U.S. Olympic Diving Coach (1964); Men’s U.S. Olympic Diving Coach (1968); New Zealand Olympic Diving Coach (1976); 1960-1968 Smith’s divers made the finals in Olympic, Pan American, International and National competitions 347 times – 88 divers (over 25%) gold medal winners; 14 of the 32 U.S. diving team spots were Dick Smith divers including Olympic champions Bernie Wrightson and Leslie Bush; His collegiate coaching was at UCLA, Arizona and the Air Force Academy.

As a teenager, Dick Smith was partially paralyzed in a diving accident.  He was back diving within a year.  On January 30, 1974, returning from coaching the host New Zealand team at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, Smith was one of 4 survivors out of 101 passengers when he walked away from a plane crash in Pago Pago.  In between these accidents the ubiquitous Smith has been in perpetual motion as a diver, a stuntman, and probably the most successful diving coach in modern times.  As an amateur he was Arizona AAU Champion, Pacific Coast AAU and Intercollegiate Diving Champion at USC under the late Fred Cady.  His distinguished war record includes the non-military honor of European Diving Champion.  A world traveler, Dick dived in and then managed Buster Crabbe’s Aqua Parade in the USA, Canada, Hawaii and Europe from 1946 through 1950.  His coaching since 1968 has taken him to Mexico, Canada, Sweden, England, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, all over South America, South Africa, Brazil , and Bahrain.  He is the only diving coach to have been elected “ASCA Swim Coach of the Year” (1963).  He is a past president of both the American Swimming and Diving Coaches Associations and the World Diving Coaches Association.  He is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and a pioneer in remedial physical education.  The most recent honors awarded to Dick have been the ‘Grand Prix Humanitaire de France” in 1977 for lifetime service in helping others achieve and the Franco-Britain War Medal in 1978 given by the Association Franco-Butannique, the second highest honor that can be obtained.