Devries Becomes First Diving Coach to Become Steadman Winner

Cliff Devries, Rochester Institute of Technology's inspirational and successful diving coach has been selected for the Richard E Steadman Award by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America.   The Richard E. Steadman award is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in high school, club, or university ranks who, in the opinion of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. the CSCAA Forum, and the CSCAA, has done the most to spread happiness in Coach Steadman’s beloved sport of swimming and diving. Devries will be recognized at the CSCAA's 58th Annual Awards Banquet on May 7th at the Hilton Orrington in Evanston, Illinois.

  Cliff would be the first person to tell me that he is not perfect, but when you look at his background, his family, his body of work, and his never ending commitment to his divers, I know of few other words that define him. Cliff is a great friend, a devoted colleague, and an inspiration to all that have met him.

Cliff would be the first person to tell me that he is not perfect, but when you look at his background, his family, his body of work, and his never ending commitment to his divers, I know of few other words that define him. Cliff is a great friend, a devoted colleague, and an inspiration to all that have met him.

Devries is the diving coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology as well as the Head Coach and Director of Upstate Diving.  Over his fifteen years, Cliff has been named Upper New York State Athletic Conference Diving Coach of the Year five separate times and send dozens of divers to the NCAA Championships.  Devries is the first diving coach to earn the award.

As Rochester head diving coach Greg Brandes explains:

Cliff would be the first person to tell me that he is not perfect, but when you look at his background, his family, his body of work, and his never ending commitment to his divers, I know of few other words that define him. Cliff is a great friend, a devoted colleague, and an inspiration to all that have met him. I couldn’t be happier to see him recognized for such an amazing award.

RIT Athletic Director, Lou Spiotti, Jr. adds:

We are so proud to hear of Cliff Devries’ recognition as a Richard Steadman Award winner. His accomplishments and impact on the intercollegiate athletics community and specifically on the sport of swimming and diving are monumental. Cliff is not only a master at his craft but more importantly he is a teacher of how to lead one’s life. He does so through the way he coaches, the way he mentors and more importantly in the way he has handled himself in every aspect of his life. Cliff Devries is a true treasure”

Cliff’s reach extends well beyond the diving well at RIT, however.  Two decades ago, following a Morman mission to Argentina, Cliff had a tumor removed from his brain stem.  The procedure that saved his life left him completely paralyzed on the right side of his body.  Since then, Cliff has not only established one of the nation’s most successful club programs, Upstate New York Diving Club, all while re-learning some of life’s most basic skills left-handed.  

More significantly, Cliff has touched the lives of millions of people through a video of an annual dive.  Each year he climbs the three-meter board and plunges into the water.  In addition to inspiring untold thousands, the dive, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle writes, serves a dual purpose of getting him back on the board and providing inservice training.  “I have the lifeguards come and pull me out,” Devries explained, “so it’s good training for them at the same time.”