Minutemen bring home league-record 16th title including back-to-back years.
Minutewomen kick off new campaign at two-day invitational-style meet.
Both teams handed out season awards and honored departing seniors.
The four-day meet is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 6:30 pm.
The Minutemen will welcome two swimmers and a diver to the class of 2016.
Mandy Hixon enters her 16th year on the UMass coaching staff in 2016-17 after an eight-year stint as head men’s and women’s diving coach at Amherst College.
“Mandy has done an unbelievable job in turning our diving program into one of the best in the Northeast,” said head coach Russ Yarworth. “She is one of the top coaches around and is a wonderful person and role model for our athletes.”
In her 15 years at UMass, Hixon has transformed the program into the Atlantic 10’s best. She has coached the last eight A-10 Divers of the Year on the men’s side and the last six A-10 Divers of the Year on the women’s side.
R.J. Rappe was a four-time A-10 one-meter champion (2005-08) and took the 2008 Men’s Diver of the Year before freshman Jason Cook swept the one-meter and three-meter events in 2009 and 2010 to take top diver honors both seasons. Cook was named Diver of the Year for the third straight year in 2011 after taking gold in the three-meter.
Karen Upperco was a three-time A-10 Women’s Diver of the Year, winning in 2006, 2008, and swept the one and three-meter events to win again in 2009, before Hannah Swift won the gold in the one-meter in 2010 to take Co-Diver of the Year honors with Saint Louis’ Anna Larson. In 2011, Molly Elkins won gold in the one-meter on her way to Diver of the Year honors. Michaela Butler is the most recent recipient of the honor after winning every event during the 2012 season.
In 2009, Hixon’s coaching led to Cook becoming the first diver in UMass history to qualify for the NCAA meet. That was surpassed in 2013 and 2014 when Michaela Butler became a three-time All-America at the NCAA Championships meet. In 2013, Butler finished fourth on the one-meter board, while in 2014 she took fifth on both the one-meter and three-meter boards.
The success with the diving program has garnered her recognition from the league’s coaching staffs as well when she was named both the Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach of the Year in four consecutive seasons from the 2008 to 2011 along with 2014 and 2015. Hixon was also named the 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, and 2016 A-10 Women’s Diving Coach of the Year.
At Amherst, Hixon was named New England Diving Coach of the Year six times and was the 1990 NCAA Diving Coach of the Year.
Before Amherst College, Hixon worked at Williams (Mass.) College where she was head diving coach as well as assistant Professor of Physical Education, Coordinator of Aquatics, assistant Director of Intramurals and assistant coach of field hockey, lacrosse and tennis. Hixon received a master’s degree in sports management from UMass in 1991.
She received her undergraduate degree in International Business and Marketing from Ohio State University in 1984, where she was a member of the school’s diving team. As a Buckeye diver, Hixon was an All-American selection, a two-time Carrie Irish Finneran Award Recipient (school’s MVP) and a four-year scholar athlete.
Hixon’s international experience has also been extensive as she served as head diving coach of the Chile National team at the 1987 Pan-American Games and was a member of the United States International diving team between 1980-1984. Hixon also placed sixth at the 1984 Olympic Diving Trials and was the 1974 National Junior Olympic champion.
Hixon and her husband, Dave, currently reside in Amherst with their sons Matthew and Michael. Michael was the NCAA Diver of the Year in 2014 after winning the 1- and 3-Meter titles as a freshman at Texas. He transferred to Indiana and took fifth in the 1-Meter and second in the 3-Meter at the 2015 championships.
Hixon Quick Facts