BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Patriot League has announced its annually-presented men’s diving coach of the year award will be named for former Navy coach Joe Suriano beginning with the 2022-23 season. Suriano’s legendary coaching career spanned 35 seasons in Annapolis through the 2012-13 campaign.
The four-time Patriot League Coach of the Year guided 14 Mids to League Diver of the Year honors, in addition to seeing 12 of his student-athletes qualify for 22 NCAA Division I Championships and claim 15 All-America accolades.
“Joe Suriano enjoyed tremendous success at the US Naval Academy and within the Patriot League during a historic career,” Patriot League Commissioner Jennifer Heppel said. “Recognizing him is a well-deserved honor for someone who was not only incredibly accomplished but an excellent ambassador for the Navy, the League and the collegiate swimming and diving community. We hope naming the men’s diving coach of the year award in his honor brings fond memories to his family, student-athletes and all those he impacted.”
Suriano is the sixth Patriot League coach to have an award named for him. He joins Bucknell’s Gene Depew (baseball coach of the year), Colgate’s Dick Biddle (football coach of the year) and Joe Abrahamson (men’s tennis championship MVP), Fordham’s John “Pat” Rooney (women’s tennis championship MVP) and Lafayette’s Bill Lawson ( men’s lacrosse coach of the year).
Throughout his decorated career, his divers totaled 27 Patriot League, 17 Eastern Swimming League and eight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) individual event titles. In 2007 and 2008, his divers swept all four boards at the Patriot League Championship.
On the national and international levels, Suriano was named an International Olympic Committee diving expert in 1985 and conducted a 21-day clinic for 30 diving coaches in New Delhi, India. In 1994, he was named an official and an assistant diving coach for US Diving at the Dive Canada International Championships. He served as an official in 1995 at the World University Games in Fukuoka, Japan, and at the World Military Games in Rome, Italy, later that year. He also served as a diving coach at two US Diving National Training Camps and was named to the 1995-96 US Diving national coaching staff. Suriano directed the American diving team at the 1999 World Military Games in Zagreb, Croatia, then completed a term as the chairman of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Rules Sub-Committee in the fall of 2001.
Suriano arrived at Navy in the summer of 1978 after previous stops as the head coach at Eastern Michigan (1971-72) and Vanderbilt (1972-78). He earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan in 1970 and a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan in 1978. He passed away in 2020.
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The Patriot League is in its fourth decade of academic and athletic achievement, continually demonstrating that student-athletes can excel at both academics and athletics without sacrificing high standards. The Patriot League’s athletic success is achieved while its member institutions remain committed to its founding principle of admitting and graduating student-athletes who are academically representative of their class. Participation in athletics at Patriot League institutions is viewed as an important component of a well-rounded education.