May 3, 2013 - by
Phil Boggs – A U.S. Diving Legend

May 3, 2013

The nation’s best divers will flock to Tallahassee from May 15-20 to compete in the World Championship Trials with hopes of qualifying for the FINA World Championships in Barcelona later this summer.

Gearing up for the meet, we’re taking a look at a few athletes and coaches that have impacted the Florida State diving program on an international level.  

First on the list is Phil Boggs.

Dialing the clocks back to the 1970’s one of those making a splash on the U.S. Diving scene was Boggs.  Boggs was the first diver in Seminole history to make such an impact on the international level.

Through most of the 1970’s, Boggs was one of the faces of USA Diving.  Boggs was the Olympic Gold Medalist on springboard in 1976 and still to this day is the only Seminole to win Gold at the Olympics. In addition, Boggs was a three-time World Champion, becoming the first diver to ever three-peat in 3-meter. 

He was later inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1977. He was known throughout the NCAA for introducing the reverse two-and-one-half somersault off the 1-meter board.

In 1978, Boggs was given the FINA Prize Eminence — the highest award in international aquatics.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Boggs’s diving journey began at  Akron Firestone High School prior to enrolling at FSU in 1968. During his collegiate career, Boggs was a three-year All-American and a NCAA Champion on 3-meter in 1971.

After his days as a Seminole, Boggs entered the Air Force’s Officer Training Program, graduating with distinction and second Lieutenant ranks.  Boggs was assigned to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where he was able to continue his diving career under Coach Dick Smith.

Boggs missed the US Olympic Team for the Munich games in 1972 and by the end of the year, Coach Smith left and took his coaching talents to Texas — leaving Boggs to train under USAF Lieutenant Micki King.

In 1973, Boggs arranged for military leave in order to train in Brandon, Fla. with an old coach, Dick Kimball.  The move proved to be a spark as he won his first World Championships title later that year.  As the U.S. defending national champion in 3-meter in 1974-75, Boggs claimed his second-consecutive world title in 1975.

Moving into 1976, Boggs was the heavy favorite to take the title in Montreal.  At the age of 25, he became an Olympic Gold Medalist and retained his rank Air Force Captain.

His diving days did not stop after the taste of sweet Olympic Glory as he decided to change career paths. Boggs decided to become a civilian attorney after being honorably discharged. He enrolled in law school at the University of Michigan.  He also took on another challenge: the platform.

With most of his training done on the 7-meter board, Boggs captured the national outdoor title on Platform in 1977 before he earned his third spring board title in 1978 at the World Championships.

 Boggs graduated from law school in 1979 and immediately shifted his focus toward the 1980 Moscow Games. Set to make the roster for the second time in his career, the United States had a different play as President James Carter ordered a boycott of the Games.

After the disappointing ban, Boggs decided to retire at the age of 30. He married the former Jodi Ford, who was a swimmer at Michigan and he became actively involved in the politics and development of U.S. Diving. In 1982, Boggs volunteered his time to assume the presidency of US Diving for seven years.  During his reign, Boggs used his law background in order to establish a business that prospered. He also created an investment program, developed sponsorships, created trust funds and establish the IS Diving Foundation.

Diagnosed with Lymphoma at age 39, Boggs passed away just 7-months after his diagnosis in 1990.

It’s safe to say that Boggs started the change for U.S. Diving. Because of his hard work, dedication and fun-spirited nature, diving has grown to one of the more pleasurable sports in the world.

Check back to for our next highlighted diver and visit for more information on the meet.  

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