Georgia Diver Blank Qualifies For NCAAs
Georgia Diver Ryan Qualifies For NCAAs
Lady Bulldogs Heading To Zone B Diving
Relay, Ryan Make History For Lady Bulldogs At SECs
Ryan Invited To Two Premier Events By USA Diving
Laak Named 2008 National Coach Of The Year
Head Diving Coach - 26th Year
Dan Laak, the two-time National Coach of the Year and a United States Diving Olympic Coach, is entering his 26th season as the head diving coach at Georgia with considerable experience at both the national and international levels, including his latest stint as an assistant coach in the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2012, Laak coached Chris Colwill to the London Olympics in stellar fashion. At the U.S. Olympic trials, Colwill came from behind and on his last dive received an almost perfect score to win the event. He went on to finish 18th at the Olympic Games on the 3-meter. Laak also was an assistant coach for the FINA World Cup in February where he coached Colwill to a 9th place finish.
In 2011, he coached Hannah Moore to All-American honors on the 3-meter with an 11th place finish. Moore also had 2 top 3 finishes at the SEC Championships in the springboard events. Colwill add another 3-meter title at the USA Diving Championships in December after travelling to China for the World Championships where he finished 4th in the 1-meter event.
In 2010, Moore was an All-American on 1-meter and recorded second- and third-place efforts on the springboards at the SEC Championships. Moore, who now holds many of the school records, also earned CSCAA Academic All-America honors.
In 2009, Laak coached Colwill to an eighth-place effort on the 3-meter and a ninth-place finish on the 1-meter at the World Championships. In 2008, he guided Colwill to National Diver of the Year honors as Colwill placed first on 1-meter and was second on both 3-meter and platform at the NCAA Championship. Laak was selected by his peers at the 2008 National Coach of the Year. Laak guided Moore of the women's team to a fourth-place finish on 3-meter at the NCAAs. Colwill and Moore each claimed an individual title at the Zone B Championship. During the summer, Laak was a USA Diving Olympic Coach at the Beijing Games, where Colwill finished 12th on the 3-meter. He also served in 2008 as National Team Coach at the USA Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale and as National Team Coach/Team Leader at the FINA World Series in England.
In 2007, Laak coached Genya Gouzeev to a ninth-place finish on the 1-meter springboard at the NCAAs. Gouzeev came in fourth on both 1- and 3-meter at the SEC Championship. Laak continued to work with Colwill, who redshirted to focus on international competition. Colwill earned five medals in 2006-07, including winning the Senior Men's 1-meter title at the Speedo USA Spring National. Laak was the National Team Coach for the 2007 Canada Cup and the National Team Coach/Team Leader for the Grand Prix meets in Spain and Italy. He served as the USA Diving assistant coach at the World Championship in Melbourne, where Colwill finished 4th on the 1-meter.
Laak was honored as the National Coach of the Year and the SEC Coach of the Year after coaching Colwill to two NCAA crowns and three SEC crowns in 2006. Colwill was named National and SEC Diver of the Year. Laak also guided Gouzeev to a third-place showing at the SECs and an Honorable Mention All-America certificate. Laak served as National Team Coach at the World Cup in China.
Laak was recognized as SEC Coach of the Year in 2005 after Colwill won the springboard titles. Laak was chosen as National Team Coach for the Canada Cup and was one of three coaches to receive the inaugural Benjamin Foundation Performance Award for outstanding coaching achievement. He later served as Colwill's personal coach at the World Championships in Canada and the USA Grand Prix in Florida
Laak came to Georgia in 1987 after spending two years as a graduate assistant at Tennessee. In his first season in Athens, Laak coached Margarita Cabrera into the spotlight, as she broke the existing school record on 3-meter, qualified for the NCAAs on both springboards and earned All-America recognition.
Another notable pupil of Laak's, 1991 UGA graduate LeeAnn Fletcher, was a two-time Honorable Mention All-American, a two-time U.S. National finalist as well as a finalist in the U.S. Olympic Festival, World Team trials and the Pan American Games trials. Fletcher was inducted into the Athens Sports Hall of Fame in May 2003.
Laak coached Jud Campbell to top-eight NCAA finishes in three of his four seasons, including a second-place finish on 1-meter in 2001. Campbell, who was the 2000 Senior National 1-meter champion, was a three-time SEC 1-meter champion, standing as Georgia's first SEC diving champion since 1967 and only Bulldog to win the same event three consecutive years. In 2001, Campbell was named the SEC Diver of the Year, while Laak earned SEC Coach of the Year honors.
Laak has additional experience in many different facets of the international diving community. In 1987, he traveled to Yugoslavia to serve as a U.S. Diving judge at the World University Games. Laak returned as a WUG judge during the 1999 games in Spain. In 1990, Laak served as a diving coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival in Minnesota, and returned to the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival in Texas as one of seven judges.
Laak was the Chairman of the NCAA Diving Rules Committee from 1997-2000.
Laak finished a stellar diving career at Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1982 with five All-America and Honorable Mention accolades. Laak graduated with a B.S. degree in recreation administration. For his accomplishments as both an athlete and a coach, Laak was inducted into the Wisconsin-LaCrosse Athletic Wall of Fame in October 2003.
He and his wife, the former Kim McDuffie of Commerce, have two sons, Tyler and Justin.