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Li, Hongping

Contact Information
Head Diving Coach
Women's Swimming and Diving
Phone: (213) 740-8445

An NCAA champion and two-time Olympian who has been one of the most successful NCAA coaches in recent years, Hongping Li is in his ninth year as USC's head diving coach. He was named to the position on July 1, 1999.

Li, the 2002 and 2006 NCAA and 2001-03 and 2005-06 Pac-10 Women's Diving Coach of the Year and the winner of the 1998 and 1999 United States Olympic Committee's "Diving Developmental Coach of the Year" award, came to USC after serving as the head coach of the Mission Viejo (Calif.) Nadadores Diving Team since 1993.

Li, who was an assistant coach on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving team, has had immediate and sustained success since joining the USC staff, directing six men's and women's divers to a combined 26 All-American honors and five NCAA titles.

In 2007, Kenny Jenkins became the sixth USC diver to garner All-American honors under Li with a fifth place on platform at the 2007 NCAA Championships. Both Jenkins and fellow senior Michael Hilde scored individually at the NCAA Championships in both the 1-meter springboard and platform. Also, junior Kim Popp reached the NCAAs for the second year in a row and scored for the first time with a 12th-place finish on platform.

In 2006, Blythe Hartley won her fourth and fifth career NCAA titles with wins on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard while men's diver Michael Hilde made his All-American debut on 3-meter. Hartley, who also earned her 12th (a maximum for a diver) All-American honor with a final appearance on platform, was named NCAA Women's Diver of the Year for the second time. Her five career NCAA titles is tied for second among NCAA women divers. She also won her seventh and eighth career Pac-10 titles (a Pac-10 record). Hilde won his second career Pac-10 platform title (Troy's fourth in a row in the event). In addition to Hilde, Kenny Jenkins qualified for his first NCAA Championships, marking the third straight year USC has had two men at the NCAAs.

In 2005, Hartley won her third career NCAA title while Ray Vincent earned his third consecutive All-American honors on the platform, marking the sixth consecutive season Li's divers earned All-American honors. Hartley was named 2005 NCAA and Pac-10 women's diver of the year after winning the NCAA 3-meter title and her fifth and sixth career Pac-10 titles a few weeks earlier. She went on to win her second career World Championship gold medal on 3-meter in July, 2005, in Montreal. Vincent also won a Pac-10 title on platform and Troy's men's diving contingent was the highest scoring unit of the meet.

In 2004, Vincent earned All-American honors on the platform, continuing Li's streak of having Trojans earn All-American honors each year he's been at USC. Additionally, Hartley represented Canada at the 2004 Olympics (winning bronze on synchronized platform) while Li's club diver Rachelle Kunkel made the U.S. team placing 9th on 3-meter springboard.

In 2003, three of Li's divers earned All-American honors. Vincent became Li's first men's diver at USC to do so, taking third in the platform at the 2003 NCAA Championships. At the women's NCAAs, Hartley was a three-time All-American while Nicci Fusaro earned one All-American honor. Hartley also swept the 2003 Pac-10 Championship diving events on the women's side (Fusaro took a pair of seconds) and Vincent won the platform title in the men's meet. For their efforts, Li was named 2003 Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season and Hartley was named Pac-10 Women's Diver of the Year for the second straight year.

Li also served as head coach for the U.S. Diving team that competed at the 2003 Grand Prix Diving Championships in Rome, Italy.

He earned NCAA Coach of the Year honors after directing the women's diving squad to superb results at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Hartley won a pair of NCAA titles and made three finals appearances on her way to 2002 NCAA Women's Diver of the Year while Fusaro also made three NCAA finals appearances. Senior diver Kellie Brennan also scored and just missed earning All-American honors. Also in 2002, Hartley won a silver and a bronze at the 2002 Commonwealth Games while Fusaro qualified for the 2002 U.S. national team.

In 2001, Li guided Brennan to a pair of All-American honors (and her third consecutive Pac-10 1-meter title) and Fusaro to her first at the 2001 NCAAs. Both also reached the top three at the 2001 U.S. Indoor Championships. Brennan was named Pac-10 Diver of the Year, Fusaro was tabbed as Newcomer of the Year and Li earned his first Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor. A year earlier in 2000, Li helped guide Brennan to her first two All-American honors.

Li, 44, was named the 1998 and 1999 U.S. Diving Outstanding Age Group Coach of the Year, was a U.S. team coach at the 1999 Pan Am Games, the 1998 World Diving Championships, the 1998 Goodwill Games and the 1997 World Junior Championships, and earned the Coach of Excellence award at the 1995 Senior National Championships. He is also a voting member of the USA Diving's Committee Olympic Success.

At Mission Viejo, he produced eight Junior National champions who won a combined 20 individual titles. Among the elite divers Li coached was Erica Sorgi, who has captured five senior national titles since 1996.

Li led the Nadadores to the 1998 Junior National Championships team title as well as every Western National team title since 1996. He served as an assistant coach at Mission Viejo from 1989-93, helping the club to consecutive junior team titles from 1991-93.

Originally from Beijing, Li was a 12-time national champion and a two-time Olympian while competing for China. He finished fourth on the 3-meter springboard at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and earned gold medals on the platform at the 1981 FINA World Cup in Mexico City and the 1981 World University Games. He also qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but did not compete because of the Chinese boycott.

Li attended USC from 1985-89 and received a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1989. He won an NCAA title in the 3-meter springboard as a freshman in 1986 and earned All-American honors in the 1-meter springboard. He also earned Pac-10 titles in the 1- and 3-meter springboards that same year. He was not eligible to compete after 1986 because of an NCAA age rule.

Li lives in La Palma, Calif., with his wife, Ling, and their 13-year-old daughter, Amanda.