Three-time US Olympic diving coach joins the IU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

  • Sept. 11, 2013

Jeffrey Huber recently retired as head coach of IU diving after 37 years of collegiate coaching


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jeffrey Huber, nationally renowned Indiana University diving coach, has joined the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington as a professor of practice.

Head Diving Coach at IU from 1989-2013, Huber is well known for his 37-year career as a collegiate diving coach. He received the highest national and international honors and awards for his coaching, including three-time U.S. Olympic Coach, 12-time USA Diving National Coach of the Year, NCAA Diving Coach of the Year, Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year for the men’s and women’s teams almost every year between 1992 and 2013, and four-time winner of the US National Diving Championship Coach of Excellence Award.


Less known, perhaps, is his academic background in educational psychology and his lifelong engagement with theories of cognition and motor-learning. He served as both an adjunct assistant professor in the IU School of Education and a coach before his coaching became a 24/7 proposition.

“Getting kids to the Olympics -- you can’t take time off from that,” he said.

Yet, throughout his career Huber consistently applied the principles of psychology to the coaching arena and wrote a textbook and several articles on the topic. He now brings his 37 years of coaching experience back to the classroom.

“We are extraordinarily pleased that Dr. Jeff Huber has joined our faculty as a professor of practice,” said William Hetrick, chair of the highly regarded Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “While many people know Jeff as an internationally decorated diving coach and living legend here at IU, I suspect that few are aware of his academic background in educational psychology and his innovative new textbook on the application of psychological principles to athletic performance and coaching. He takes a scholarly -- and heart-felt -- approach to the application of psychological principles to real-world challenges facing elite athletes and coaches. This is exactly what you'd expect of a professor of practice.”

PBS Distinguished Professor and Luther Dana Waterman Professor Richard Shiffrin said the announcement of Huber’s retirement last spring led him and Huber to discuss the possibility of Huber’s return to academia.

“After a series of meetings, it became clear that on both sides, it was a perfect fit, and that the right way to pursue the match was as a professor of practice,” Shiffrin said.

As chair of the hiring committee, Professor Peter Finn said Huber adds “an extra dimension” to what the department has to offer students because of his wealth of experience in an applied domain.

“His approach to diving is a great example of how you can apply theories of cognition and motor learning to a particular sport,” Finn said. “His background and experience combined with his academic rigor will enrich the educational environment.”

As a coach Huber developed a reputation for taking kids in high school who were not well known, and in fact not even very good divers, and having them win national titles within a two-year period. He recalls one year he went to Indianapolis to recruit a top female diver, who had no interest in IU. He then happened to receive a videotape from a diver in New York. It was not very good. But she came out for a visit and he saw that she was intelligent, had a great, positive attitude and an ability to learn. By the time Cassandra Cardinell graduated, she was an NCAA champion, a USA national champion and an Olympian.

That Huber typically had more divers on the 10-meter platform than any other program in the country also reflects his skill in applying psychological principles to the sport to create an effective learning environment. On one of the most fear-provoking diving platforms, Huber was able to “get kids up on the platform and enable them to enjoy the event.”

“Coaches/teachers have to be guided by more than just past experiences, intuitions or what their own coaches did," he said. "I feel strongly that coaches need to be educated and to coach and train athletes according to the best theory and research.”

Huber said he is delighted to join a department that is “full of luminaries in the field” and he embraces the return to teaching and academia.

“My passion is psychology,” he said. “I’m fascinated by how people learn or why they don’t, and how we can accelerate the process. And I now have 37 years of experiences that I want to share. I am really excited to be in this department. It rocks. And I look forward to making a real contribution to it."

He will teach two courses in the spring, an introductory course and a seminar on the psychology of coaching elite athletes.

To learn more or to speak with Huber, contact Liz Rosdeitcher at 812-855-4507 or

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Media Contacts

Liz Rosdeitcher

  • Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Office 812-855-4507