Michael Dickson / 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame


MICHAEL DICKSON: I was
first hired here in 1978. And then I retired last
year, in May of 2018. So it was 40 years
that I was here. I still bump into young people
who are no longer young. But they recognize me because
I haven’t changed a whole lot. I still have my beard. And when I’m wearing my
Hawaiian shirt everyday, people say, Coach Mike,
that’s you, isn’t it? I grew up in the
city of Montclair. And we moved down here
when I was about seven. And my mother put
us in swim lessons. And I was an acrobat. I did a lot of
gymnastics-type activities. The diving coach down there
requested that I come out for the diving team. And I was also on the
swim team at that time. And I did that
when I was a child. And then I pretty much
did diving from then on, all the way through
college as well. I came here in 1967, just
taking general ed classes for the most part. I was on the swim team. Diving are two events
of the swim program. And so I was one of the
divers that we had here. And I was the conference
finalist both years that I was here. I was a finalist at Southern
California Championships and then also qualified for
the State Diving Championships. And then I transferred
to Cal Poly Pomona. I graduated with a degree
in physical education. I was first hired here in 1978. We’ve won several state
championships in diving. I’ve had swimmers compete
in the Olympic games. I’ve won the State Diving
Coach of the Year Award, as well as Swim
Coaches of the Year. I’ve got quite a few
of those, because we’ve won quite a few swimming
championships under my helm. I think part of it is just
I’m not coming in and doing an 8:00 to 5:00 job. I was the Red Cross Aquatics
Director for many years. Being a CPR instructor,
a first aid instructor, teaching lifeguarding
and WSI, you get a chance to help
people help others. For many years, I’ve
been the aquatic director during the summertime, and
I’ve run the summer swim lesson program here. And we work with anywhere
from 1,800 to 2,000 kids every summer. Somebody’ll bring in
their child and say, yeah, I was in this program
when I was five years old. And now, this is my
five-year-old child. I’ve had even a couple of
third generation people who’ve gone through the program. That’s fun. When you think in terms
of the thousands of kids that I’ve had an opportunity
to have an influence on, I’m very humbled by that. My goal as a coach was
to get them into a point, mentally, to become the
best that they could be.

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