Spartans fall to Illinois & Liberty, but post season-best times and NCAA Zone qualifying scores.
Eric Best enters his 12th season as the Michigan State men's and women's diving coach. In 2008-09, the Spartan Divers placed in both the Finals and Semi-finals of the Big Ten Championships. Eight Spartan divers qualified for the NCAA Regionals with five of them making it to the Regional Finals.
"Coach Best shows great passion for his divers," Coach Gianiodis said. "He lives for getting his divers better and making them improve beyond their potential. He doesn't just care about diving, he cares about the entire program."
In the seven years under Best's leadership Spartan divers continue to earn Big Ten Diver of the Week honors, Big Ten Academic All- Conference Honors and a first-team Academic All-American. Last year the Spartan diver's team GPA was over a 3.5.
2007-08 saw best send four divers to NCAA Regionals. His biggest accomplishment of the year was mentoring Danielle Williams to a fourth-place finish at the Canadian nationals and a seventh place finish at the Olympic Trials.
Best was named the 2006 Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year, after his divers finished 4th in diving points at the Big Ten Championships with no platform entries and no divers with previous national experience. He also coached seven divers who qualified for the NCAA Regional Meet.
During the summer of 2004, he coached former Spartan diver Chad Hepner to a ninth-place finish at the U.S. National Championships. In 2005, he coached current Spartan Danielle Williams to a seventh-place finish in the three-meter and a ninth-place finish in the one-meter at the Canada Games.
Prior to becoming the diving coach at Michigan State, Best served as the diving coach at West Bloomfield (Mich.) High School from 1991-2002. During his tenure at West Bloomfield, he coached 26 state meet qualifiers in 11 consecutive years, including six state finalists and two All-Americans.
Best also spent one season (1980-81) as the diving coach at Oakland Community College, where he coached two NJCAA qualifiers, including a fifth-place finisher.
Best has been an integral part of the MSU Diving Camp since 1980. Among his responsibilities are supervising the program, coaching, spotting and delivering lectures on training techniques, diving mechanics and goal setting. In addition, Best coaches the Spartan Diving Club at Michigan State.
Best was a member of the Michigan State diving team from 1979-82. He is a 1992 cum laude graduate of Wayne State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education.