SAN LUIS OBISPO, Cali. — Cal Poly swimming and diving head coach Phil Yoshida announced Monday the hiring of Jerry Damron as the program’s new diving coach.
“Everything I have learned about Jerry speaks to him being the right person to lead our divers to the next level,” Yoshida said. “His enthusiasm, knowledge, and structure will drive the divers in their pursuit of higher and bigger dives with better and better form to achieve those big scores needed to win the conference, qualify for NCAAs and put this team on the map.”
Damron, a former All-American diver at Cuesta College and Chico State in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, coached the diving team at San Luis Obispo High this past year, where four of his athletes scored team points at the CIF Central Section Division I Championships and two qualified for state. He also mentored Malia Maire to the sectional title in the 1-meter dive.
“I look forward to working closely with Jerry to make Cal Poly swimming and diving a powerhouse program known for hard-working student-athletes that make big-time improvements in the pool, graduate and excel in their careers,” Yoshida said.
A former professional high diver for USA Diving, Damron said becoming a member of the Mustang family is like a dream come true. His wife, mother, sister and brother all attended Cal Poly, and his late grandfather lived very close to the Mustangs’ home pool.
“For me, it’s surreal and amazing,” Damron said. “It’s a true honor, and I feel like I’m able to give back to a sport that gave so much to me and that’s why I’m doing it.”
At Cuesta, Damron posted top 10 all-time scores on both boards while competing on an 11-dive list. He currently sits in third in school history in the 3-meter dive (413.50) and fifth in the 1-meter dive (375.85).
Damron was also an NCAA Division II Nationals finalist at Chico State, finishing 11th in the 1-meter dive and 12th in the 3-meter dive as a senior in 1990. As a team, Chico State placed at the Division II Championships each year during Damron’s tenure.
Damron, who mentored USA age group and Junior Olympic divers during his college career, hopes to bring unprecedented success to the diving program at Cal Poly and impact his athletes’ lives for years to come.
“I want to be able to help the student-athletes both on the diving board as far as they want to go, and also academically and beyond,” Damron said.
Damron, born in Fort Rucker, Alabama, graduated from Chico State in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and has lived in the Central Coast area for over 25 years. He has served as the President and Global Solutions Executive of Damron Corporate Solutions International for the last 19 years.
“I coached at the high school last year and it just lit me up,” he said. “I felt the passion and I felt like I had a purpose. I want to step out on the pool deck and really make an impact with these athletes, believe in them and let them know I am 100 percent invested in whatever they are doing. As much work as they put in, I’ll match and then some.”