One of the longest-tenured and most accomplished coaches in Pitt Athletics history is leaving the program, as Julian Krug announced his decision to retire Friday after 38 years as the Panthers’ head diving coach.
“The intent has been coming on for some time. Face it, I’m 70 years old, I’ve been coaching collegiate diving for the last 44 years,” Krug said Sunday. “So, there comes a time, and I think this is the right time.”
Krug took over as Pitt’s diving coach in 1979 after three-year stints at both Navy and Southern Illinois. He became a six-time Big East Coach of the Year with the Panthers, then received the Phil Boggs Award — a prestigious recognition of lifetime achievement in diving — in 2013.
The San Jose, California, native added on an ACC Coach of the Year Award in 2016. In his 37th season at Pitt, he coached sophomore Meme Sharp and junior Dominic Giordano to a pair of ACC titles in the three-meter dive, along with a national championship for Giordano in the same event.
“I say this all the time, I’ll say it to you, I don’t care if you print it: Sometimes you have divers that make you look really, really good,” Krug said. “I’ve certainly had two of these divers in Dom and Meme. I’m blessed, and I’ve been blessed my whole career.”
Sharp became Pitt’s first women’s individual ACC champion across all sports when she won her title with a school-record 360.00 points in 2016.
Giordano, already an ACC champion in the platform dive in 2015, became Pitt’s first-ever national champion diver and 34th individual national champion across all sports. He capped off his career with another ACC title in the 3M and a pair of honorable mention All-American finishes in 2017.
“It was a privilege to get to know Julian and work with him this season,” Pitt swimming and diving head coach John Hargis said Friday in a press release. “For many years, his divers have competed at the highest level and excelled at conference and national meets for Pitt — this season was no different.”
Along with the pair of ACC champions, Krug coached 18 individual Big East champions, 10 first-team All-American divers and another 10 honorable mention All-American performers. He was also a three-time All-American diver at the University of Wisconsin from 1966 to 1968.
“I look at my career … could we have won more nationals? Of course we could have done all that. But I have absolutely no complaints,” Krug said. “We have gone through a ton of divers … I believe that the object was to teach them diving, but [also] to teach them to be real, live, adult human beings, and I think we’ve done that all the way around.”
Krug also clarified a quote from the Pitt Athletics press release, which quoted him as saying, “My mother used to say, ‘Do what you love to do.’”
“What she told me was, ‘Happy is a man who makes a living doing what he’d rather do anyway,’” Krug said. “That is the quote that my mother said to me a long, long time ago, and that certainly has been me.”
Krug said there will be a search committee tasked with finding Pitt’s next diving coach. Associate Athletic Director Jennifer Tuscano will head the committee, and Krug said he will be helping with the search in any way he can.