Diving coaches don’t get the publicity of other collegiate sports. They don’t get the airtime on ESPN, the high-paid commercials. If they did, however, you would know the name Randy Ableman very well.
In 19 seasons at the University of Miami, Ableman has achieved every goal that was possible as a diving head coach and became known as one of the nation’s premier coaches.
Ableman is a nine-time NCAA Diving Coach of the Year, earning the national honor six consecutive years from 1995-2000, has coached 10 National Champions to an NCAA-record 21 individual national titles, 54 All-Americans, and nine Olympians.
In 1995, Ableman became the first head coach in NCAA history to earn five All-American honors in the same year. To add to that, in 2002 U.S. Diving presented him with the Phil Boggs Award, presented annually to honor coaches who have achieved individual excellence in diving as well helped assure the sport’s continuation and success.
“I am very lucky,” smiled a cheerful Ableman. “I have always been kind of lucky as a diver and now as a coach. But I am really careful to not let things slip and that keeps me going. I really want this program to stay in the very highest level.”
But Ableman hasn’t always lived the high life. Throughout his career, he had to learn that maturing was the best thing to do. When he was younger, Ableman took everything too personally.
When he thought the judging was bad, he responded by throwing chairs. Ableman claimed he acted like “an idiot” when he didn’t think his diver wasn’t getting a decent score. As the years went by, his disposition changed.
“Now, I don’t get quite as emotional,” laughed Ableman. “The highs are not quite as high. The lows are not quite as low. I think I am very more relaxed. Now I keep it simple on what is important. I don’t let the little things I can’t control affect me.”
His calmness has carried over into his personal life. When Ableman is not coaching, most of his peaceful time is spent deep-sea fishing. Ableman always feel at one with the water.
“I like to get out there in the ocean. I love it,” Ableman said. “I love living in Florida. There is nothing more fun than catching a nice fish and grilling it up that night.”
And whom does he bring the fish home to? To three of the most important people in his life: his wife Karen Gorham, who was the 1980 U.S. indoor champion in the one-meter springboard, and his two daughters. Ableman’s little girls have high hopes of one day being great divers just like their mother and father.
“My 12-year-old daughter is a good little diver. But she doesn’t really have the drive to do it year round. But she is only 12,” laughed Ableman. “My four year old tells me she is going to be a great diver for me at UM. Makes me smile all the time. I just hope I am still around here for her.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.