A for Athlete


Hired at University of Michigan as diving coach in August 2010[]

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon announced on Aug. 29, 2010 the hiring of Kongzheng "KZ" Li as head diving coach for both the men's and women's swimming and diving programs.

"We are extremely excited about adding KZ to the Michigan family," Brandon said. "His accolades as both a diver and a head coach are unparalleled. Those experiences make him a perfect addition to the university. We look forward to the future success that both of our diving programs will have under KZ's guidance."

"I am very excited to be at the University of Michigan," Li said. "There is great tradition here and I think this will be a very good challenge for me. We have been dominant before, and our goal is to get back to that level."

Li has spent his entire 19-year career as a head coach. He was co-head coach of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus, Ohio, for the last two years. Prior to arriving in Columbus, Li led the National Training Centre of Diving in Melbourne, Australia (also known as AUS) Flag of Australia, from 2006-08. In Melbourne, Li's divers won 14 gold medals at the 2007 and 2008 Australian Elite Junior National Championships and two bronze medals at the 2008 Junior World Championships. His divers also won one gold and two silvers at the 2008 Australian Open (Senior) National Championships, with one diver finishing as high as fifth at the 2008 FINA World Championships.

From 1996-2003, Li was head diving coach at the University of Minnesota, where he produced eight NCAA All-Americans, six Big Ten champions and 45 Big Ten Championships finalists. In addition, three of his divers won Big Ten Diver of the Year and four were selected as Big Ten Diver of the Championships. Li is a two-time Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year, winning the honor in 2001 (men) and 1998 (women).

He began his coaching career in 1991, as the head coach of Texas Aquatics (Austin, Texas) before heading up Team Orlando (Fla.) Diving in 1993. While in Orlando, his team won the 1996 USA Diving Junior National Championships and placed second at the same event in both 1994 and 1995. He coached four USA Senior National champions and 10 USA Junior National champions during his four-year tenure.

Li has served as a head coach or coach for the United States (also known as USA) Flag of the United States Diving National Team on more than 20 occasions, including his instruction of divers at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In addition, he has twice coached at the World Championships (1998, 2001), three times at the World Diving Cup (1993, 1995, 1997) and once at the 1995 Pan-American Games. For his efforts, Li was named USA Diving Junior Olympic Coach of the Year in 1994 and earned the Coach of Excellence Award at the USA Diving Senior National Championships in 1996.

As a major advocate for the sport of diving, Li has served on many boards and committees for USA Diving. He served as a member of the Diversity Committee (1992-98), the Rules Committee (1997-99) and the Olympic International Committee (1998-2000). In addition, he was also the Senior Chairman of the Minnesota Diving Association (from 1998-2003) and held the same post for the Pacific Diving Association (Southern California) from 2004 to 2006.

A distinguished diver, Li of China (also known as CHN) Flag of the People's Republic of China was a three-time member of the Chinese Olympic Team, and won a bronze medal on the platform at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. From 1975-88, Li participated in more than 50 international competitions, winning 25 gold medals, 14 silver medals and 10 bronze medals. Li graduated from the Beijing Institute of Physical Education.