GVSU’s Burciaga wins Division II Diving Coach of the Year

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU Athletics  
Diving coach Steve Burciaga named NCAA Division II Diving Coach of the Year.

GVSU Athletics

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU Athletics Diving coach Steve Burciaga named NCAA Division II Diving Coach of the Year.

Mason Tronsor

When a team has success in any sport, the spotlight usually shines down on the players and the head coach. In this case, the assistant coach is worthy of some love.

Grand Valley State diving coach Steve Burciaga recently was named the NCAA Division II Diving Coach of the Year — an award voted on by other coaches.

“It’s such a great honor when you are voted by your peers and knowing there are so many great programs out there,” Burciaga said. “It is not something you strive for since there are so many more important goals to achieve.”

He guided his seven student-athlete divers to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. While there, the group garnered an individual national title, 14 All-American honors and scored a GVSU championship-record 144 combined points.

“He has recruited many great divers and has helped all of the divers and has helped all of the other divers to maintain success,” said freshman diver Brad Dalrymple. “By him winning coach of the year means that all of our accomplishments were recognized throughout the year.”

Dalrymple won GVSU’s first individual national championship when he took the 1-meter title with a score of 540.45. Four men’s divers, Dalrymple, Jared Gregory, Ian Ellis and Joe Gucwa, earned eight All-American honors between the 1 and 3-meter boards.

“Steve did an incredible job with the divers this year,” said GVSU head coach Andy Boyce. “For Steve to win coach of the year, it truly shows how strong Grand Valley diving is on the national scene. It really just shows the commitment that the divers have made to improving.”

As for the women’s side, senior Taylor Wiercinski led the way with a second-place finish on the 1-meter board and a third-place finish on the 3-meter board at the NCAA Championships. In addition to her performance, juniors Anna Barry and Kayla Marquardt earned four All-American awards at the NCAA championships.

This is Burciaga’s fourth year at GVSU. He has now coached a total of 16 years at the collegiate, high school, AAU and the USA Junior Olympic levels.

His classes of successful divers include state champions and national champions. It started with his son, Nick, who won a state championship, and Burciaga has now led Dalrymple to a national title at GVSU. They aren’t the only notable stars to learn under Burciaga, who also coached GVSU Athletic Director Tim Selgo’s son in high school to a state meet.

Burciaga asks a lot from his divers. In the end, though, he knows all their hard work will pay off thanks to their dedication.

“It is a very long season with practicing up to 20 hours a week — swim meets, long bus rides, going to class and taking care of homework,” he said. “While the majority of programs in the nation may have one or two national-level divers to focus on, we have seven divers maintaining a high level of diving.”

As the diving coach, Burciaga focuses primarily on helping his divers get the most out of themselves and maximize their potential. He helped junior Jared Gregory have an undefeated GLIAC season thanks to hard work in the summer.

“He pushed me hard to get better, especially in the summer,” Gregory said. “His push and drive allowed me to get better and take this season head-on.”

Burciaga’s honor brings recognition to GVSU’s diving team, and highlights the all-too-often overlooked role of assistant coaches.