Aug. 18, 2009
BERKELEY - Benjamin Herdt, formerly the diving coach at Wyoming, was hired as the diving coach for both the California men's and women's programs, Deputy Director of Athletics Teresa Gould announced on Tuesday. He earned the 2009 Mountain West Conference Diving Coach of the Year honor for both men and women in his final season with the Cowboys' and Cowgirls' programs. Herdt, who competed collegiately for Minnesota from 2000 to 2004, had worked at Wyoming since August of 2004.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to work at Cal, to lead the diving program to success and to be a part of their great tradition of aquatics programs," Herdt said. "I believe it will be a great fit for both my family and Cal Athletics."
"I am thrilled that Benjamin Herdt has decided to join the Golden Bear family to lead our diving program to the next level," Gould said. "As I spoke with various people within the diving community across the country during the search, Ben's name was one that came up consistently as one of the most talented and innovative coaches in the sport. He brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for diving to the Cal program, and I am confident that the future is bright under his leadership."
Wyoming divers have enjoyed success in the collegiate, national and international arenas under Herdt. Most recently, Cowboys junior Mark Murdoch finished 12th in the platform at the 2009 AT&T National Diving Championships. Herdt has international experience, having mentored former Cowgirl Saara Haapanen as a Finland national team assistant coach, including at the 2007 FINA USA Diving Grand Prix.
Herdt sent three Cowgirls and one men's diver - Murdoch, who was eighth on the three-meter board - to the finals of the 2009 NCAA Zone E Diving Championships and coached Stephanie Ortiz to a strong junior season. Ortiz won the three-meter springboard, placed second at one meter and finished eighth on the platform in the 2009 MWC Championships en route to the MWC Co-Diver of the Year award.
A native of East Lansing, Mich., Herdt also earned MWC coaching kudos in 2006, for coaching the Wyoming women, and in 2008, for coaching the Wyoming men. He produced two other conference champions at Wyoming: Haapanen won the women's one-meter title in 2007 and Kyle Bogner, as a true freshman, won the men's one-meter crown in 2008. Haapanen's 2007 championship marked the first time a Cowgirl swimmer or diver won an individual MWC title.
Herdt has worked at various college diving camps, including the Texas Longhorns Camp in the summers of 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He coached the Minnesota Diving Club and the Twin City Diving Club in Minneapolis, Minn., from 2000 to 2004.
A 2004 graduate of Minnesota, Herdt served as co-captain of the Golden Gophers as a senior during the 2003-04 season. He earned academic All-Big Ten accolades in his last two years at Minnesota.