Now in his ninth year at the helm of the University of Massachusetts womenís crew, Jim Dietz has molded his program into one of the nationís finest.
The only crew coach in UMass history, the Minutewomen have dominated regular-season racing and have captured seven consecutive Atlantic 10 team championships, including the 2002 crown, under Dietzí direction. His squads have produced 31 Atlantic 10 gold medals in seven league championship events, including six in seven starts by his varsity eight boats. For his efforts, Dietz has been honored as Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year on four occasions, the last of which came in 1999.
Recognized internationally for his coaching ability, Dietz guided UMass to a fourth-place team finish at the 1998 NCAA Championships in Gainesville, Ga., and his varsity eights earned silver medals at both the 1997 and 1998 NCAA meets. Five of his student-athletes have earned a total of six Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-America citations.
Dietzí success doesnít end on the water, though, as his program has produced a league-leading 17 Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference performers, eight Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association National Scholar Athletes who have earned a total of 11 citations, and four U.S. Rowing Association Academic All-Americans. In addition, his teams annually lead UMassí Atlantic 10 Commissionerís Honor Roll selections.
Before coming to Amherst to start the UMass program from scratch, Dietz spent nine years as the head coach of the Coast Guard Academy crew program (1985-94). Though his primary responsibilities were with the menís heavyweight eight, he was also in charge of the overall program which included four assistant coaches and over 90 student-athletes.
Dietzí crew experience began in 1964, when he competed for the New York Athletic Club in all classes of rowing and sculling events. As a high school student, he won all United States and Canadian Scholastic championships in single and double sculls from 1964 through 1967, and won the first Junior World Championship in single sculls at Ratzeburg, Germany, in 1967.
During his competitive years, Dietz won 45 United States and 37 Canadian national championship titles. He was a member of almost every U.S. National Team from 1967-1983, including U.S. Olympic entries in 1972, 1976 and 1980. In addition, Dietz captured crew medals at the Pan American Games in 1967, 1975, 1979 and 1983. He was also a member of seven World Championship crews. A 1972 graduate of Northeastern University with a bachelor of science degree in marketing, Dietz has been inducted into the Northeastern University Hall of Fame, as well as the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) Hall of Fame. A Veteran Award winner of the NYAC and a Power Ten Award winner of Manhattan, Dietz also earned the prestigious Athlete of the Quarter Century honor for his past performances at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
Since 1976, Dietz has been involved with the United States Olympic Committee, and in both 1988 and 1992 he served as the U.S. Olympic Quad coach in Seoul, South Korea and Barcelona, Spain.
In 1987, Dietz founded the Thames River Sculls, a non-profit sculling center. Over the years, members of this program have won numerous titles at the U.S. Scholastic championships, and U.S.R.A. Elite Nationals. Several members have gone on to race for the United States on World and Olympic teams. The Thames River/Pre-Elite womenís crews have participated in the Nationís Cup Regatta (under 23 World Championships) winning the 1996 meet in Belgium.
Dietz coached the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia, taking the bronze medal in the womenís lightweight double. In 1999, he coached the U.S. National Team, taking medals at both the Pan American Games and the World Rowing Championships.
Dietz, and his wife Pamela, reside in Amherst with their two sons, James II (17) and Michael (14).