Blue and Gold Illustrated

Jan. 1, 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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58 JAN. 1, 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE F rom following a curi- ous whim as a 9-year- old to try diving lessons at the neighborhood pub- lic pool in Oregon, to be- coming a four-time colle- giate All-American diver in the early 1980s, to earn- ing a place on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team, to eventually becoming one of the top instructors in the world, first-year Notre Dame diving head coach Mark Bradshaw squeezes every ounce of joy he can from the sport he has built his life around. Bradshaw — who was tabbed in July as the new Notre Dame head diving coach following the retire- ment of Caiming Xie after 25 years on the job — ad- mitted that uprooting and moving to Notre Dame af- ter 23 successful seasons coaching at Arizona State made for a tough deci- sion. But following one "bucket list" trip to the Notre Dame campus last spring, Bradshaw, 58, said his career move became a "no- brainer." "It's different here at Notre Dame than it is at a state university," said Bradshaw, whose divers are a critical part of an Irish swimming and diving program that ranks No. 15 nation- ally in the men's poll and No. 12 in the women's. "It was just the culture and the little things. There is such a family feel, I was like, 'Wow, this is a great career step for me.'" Before twice becoming the NCAA National Diving Coach of the Year (2003, 2005) and an eight-time Pac- 10 Men's Diving Coach of the Year while at Arizona State — where he mentored several All-Americans — Bradshaw had already collected plenty of hardware as an athlete. Still considered one of the best swimming and diving competitors ever at Ohio State, Bradshaw par- layed his success there as a four-year All-American and the 1983 3-meter NCAA champion into a trip to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. The timing of the trip halfway around the world wasn't ideal — Bradshaw was expecting the birth of his son while out of the country — but the experiences at Seoul and the fifth-place finish in the 3-meter board there will never be forgotten. "There are just so many cultures from all over the world, it was very interesting," recalled Bradshaw, who left Korea immediately after his event and returned home in time for his son's birth. "You're standing in line to eat at the commissary and right next to you there's this six-foot, nine-inch female basketball player and next to her, you have a four-foot, nine-inch gymnast." Looking back, Bradshaw explained that his Olympic dream and eventual coaching success are both rooted in that desire and decision as an elemen- tary-school kid to take on a new challenge. "And here we are about 50 years later," Bradshaw said, "and I'm still tied to the sport." After his competitive career ended, Bradshaw started his coaching career at Ohio University and then The United States Military Academy before beginning his long tenure at Arizona State in 1997. An impressive résumé and a groundswell of support from those in the know caught the atten- tion of Notre Dame swim- ming and diving head coach Mike Litzinger to have Bradshaw fill Xie's vacancy. "I received recommen- dations from some of the best coaches in the coun- try and they all knew that Mark [Bradshaw] would be a great fit," Litzinger said. "I think he knows the potential of our program and he saw it. He saw what we had to offer and it was a good match." ✦ Irish Roundup HOCKEY (4-5-1 OVERALL, 3-4-1 BIG TEN) No. 16 Notre Dame split two home games with Ohio State, winning 3-0 Dec. 12 before losing 3-2 Dec. 13 … The Fighting Irish then tied Michigan State 1-1 Dec. 18, before losing 4-3 to the Spartans on Dec. 19. SWIMMING & DIVING On Dec. 4, the No. 12 women's team de- feated Cincinnati 204-87 and the No. 15 men's squad topped the Bearcats 201-93 … The Fighting Irish placed first in 23 of 28 races, sweeping all four relay events … Notre Dame returns to action with a home dual meet against Louisville Jan. 9. — Steve Downey Bradshaw, a former Olympian, takes over the Notre Dame men's and women's diving programs after a 23-year coaching tenure at Arizona State. He is a two-time NCAA National Diving Coach of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Lifelong Success Makes Mark Bradshaw A Great Hire For Irish Divers

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