The LSU diving program is one of storied tradition, and no one has had a more profound impact in the Tigers’ recent success than Doug Shaffer.
Entering his 13th overall season with LSU, Shaffer was promoted to co-head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs along with Dave Geyer in April 2010 and enters his fifth season as head diving coach.
After four seasons, Shaffer and Geyer have LSU on the path to becoming one of the nation’s elite programs. During the 2013-14 season, the men and women smashed three school records. Sophomore Cassie Weil also tallied a stellar postseason performance highlighted by All-American honors.
Weil qualified for NCAA Championships where she earned an NCAA First-Team All-American honor on platform behind a program record score of 311.55. Weil also earned her third Honorable Mention All-American honor, this time on three-meter. At SEC Championships, Weil secured bronze medals on both platform and three-meter and brought home a Second-Team All-SEC honor.
Alex Bettridge provided another solid year on the women’s side, setting the program record on one-meter. Reached the finals of platform and one-meter with a fourth place and sixth place respectively. Bettridge also competed at the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Diving Regional where she finished fourth on platform with a two-list score of 584, fifth on the one-meter (632.60) and the sixth on three-meter.
Sean McKinney and Kevin Leong provided strong performances throughout their senior campaigns. McKinney posted career-high scores during all three events, which included a program record 425.70 on the three-meter. Notched the second-best platform score on platform during prelims of the SEC Championships. During postseason competition, McKinney finished fifth overall on platform at SEC’s and at NCAA Zone Regional, finished fourth on one-meter, sixth on platform and 13th on three-meter
Leong ended his career by qualifying for NCAA Zones for a third straight year. He finished ninth on platform and 12th on one-meter. Leong just missed reaching the championships on platform at the SEC Championships but scored points on all boards at SEC’s. He leaves the program with the second best one-meter score in program history (384.15) set against Oklahoma Baptist.
Allie Alter and Katie Lagarde also provided strong performances as underclassmen. Lagarde reached NCAA Zone Diving Regionals in her first season and posted a career high score of 244.20 on three-meter at the Alabama Diving Invitational for a sixth place finish.
Alter reached the finals on all three boards at the regional and finished seventh on platform with a two-list score of 540.50. Alter also finished16th on the one-meter (530.65) and 18th on the three-meter (579.10) at NCAA’s
Shaffer was no stranger to leading a successful collegiate diving program before taking the job in Baton Rouge. He was the head coach at UCLA in 1988-89 and then at the University of Minnesota from 1989-96.
Shaffer experienced a great deal of success at Minnesota as he was honored as Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year three times – twice on the women’s side and once for the men’s team. Shaffer coached 11 Big Ten champions, 29 All-Americans and two NCAA champions while at Minnesota. He was named NCAA Diving Coach of the Year in 1993. Shaffer also coached three Pac-10 champions and four All-Americans during his tenure at UCLA.
He has coached the United States in numerous international competitions since 1989, including the U.S. National Diving teams in China, Sweden, Spain and the United States. Shaffer served as the assistant competition manager during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and was recruited to be the head diving coach at the Sheffield, England, High Performance Center. There, he coached five Olympians on the Lottery Funded World Class Performance Program but declined a four-year contract extension for the opportunity to coach at LSU.
Shaffer graduated from UCLA in 1986 with a B.A. degree in history. He was an 11-time U.S. National champion, the 1986 NCAA Diver of the Year and the NCAA one-meter and three-meter champion in 1986 for the Bruins. One of the few divers to defeat the legendary Greg Louganis, Shaffer ousted the four-time Olympian five times in 1987, three of which were in U.S. National competition.
Shaffer was a silver medalist in the three-meter at the 1987 Pan American Games and won a gold medal at the 1987 USA-USSR dual meet in the three-meter competition. An Olympic Trials finalist in 1984 and 1988, he retired from competition in 1988 and moved into the nation’s coaching ranks.
Shaffer is a native of Canton, Ohio and is married to Dr. Tracy Stephenson Shaffer, an LSU associate professor in communication
THE DOUG SHAFFER FILE
Born: July 8, 1963 in Baltimore, Md.
Wife: Dr. Tracy Stephenson Shaffer
Child: Sara Melissa (8)
High School: Mission Viejo High School, Mission Viejo, Calif.
College: UCLA; B.A. in History, 1986
Records and Achievements at LSU
2008 SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year
1 SEC Diver of the Year
2 SEC Champions
7 All-SEC selections
14 NCAA All-Americans
7 SEC Freshman Divers of the Year
6 NCAA All-America honors collected by freshmen
5 NCAA All-Americans in his first season (2002-03)
4 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-graduate Scholarship finalists
4 LSU Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients
3 Program records broken in one year
5 Divers who recorded team-high grade point averages
2 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient
1 ESPN Academic All-American
1 Tiger Twelve Honoree