USA Diving is saddened by the loss of legendary coach Hobie Billingsley, who passed away Saturday.
“The diving community has lost a legend. Hobie Billingsley was more than just a great coach. Hobie was a father figure to so many in our sport. I don’t think you can find a person who’s been involved in diving at any point over the past 60 years who wasn’t impacted in some way by Hobie Billingsley. That’s the kind of person Hobie was. He embodied diving on so many levels, and we are forever grateful for the impact he made. He will be missed dearly,” said Lee Michaud, USA Diving president.
Billingsley was a coach for the 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympic Teams. He later served as a judge at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and he had the honor of conducting the Judges Oath at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
His divers won 115 national titles and six Olympic medals. His divers brought home three gold and three bronze medals over the course of five Olympic Games, and he also coached four Pan American Games gold medalists. His athletes included Leslie Bush, Mark Lenzi, Ken Sitzberger, Jim Henry, Cynthia Potter and Win Young, to name just a few.
Billingsley spent 30 years as diving coach at Indiana University and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1983. He was voted U.S. Diving Coach of the Year multiple times, was the first recipient of the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year in 1988, and was also a recipient of the Mike Malone Award, the Fred Caddy Award, and the Sammy Lee Award.
An NCAA champion at Ohio State, Billingsley traveled the world performing his famous water shows before he made the move into coaching. As a coach, Billingsley was known for his application of scientific methods, and he shared his knowledge through his many lectures, clinics and camps.