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Dennis Ceppa
Dennis  Ceppa

Diving Coach

Alma Mater:
College of New Jersey '03


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Dennis Ceppa is in his fourth season at Penn State as the head diving coach.

Under Ceppa’s guidance, the Penn State diving program enjoyed a breakout season in 2015-16, reaching heights not seen in nearly two decades. Not only were the Nittany Lions represented at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2007, but three qualified, giving Penn State it’s largest contingent on the boards since 1998. Hector Garcia led the trio, becoming the first Penn State diver to earn honorable mention All-America honors since 2006.

In the summer of 2015, Ceppa served as an assistant coach for the USA Diving team at the 2015 Pan-American games, working with Zac Nees. Nees earned a bronze medal in synchronized diving.

In August 2014, Penn State volunteer assistant diving coach Amanda Burke, who is trained by Ceppa, took gold in the synchronized three-meter competition at the AT&T USA Diving National Championships. Nees took first place at the national championships as well. With two divers qualified to compete in all springboard events at the Pan American Sports Festival in Mexico City, Mexico from Sept. 23-Oct. 1, Ceppa was chosen to coach Team USA at the festival. Team USA places coaches based on which one has the largest number of athletes or events represented in a competition.

He spent the previous three years at George Mason University. With the Patriots, Ceppa earned Colonial Athletic Association Diving Coach of the Year honors twice in just three seasons. GMU captured four conference titles and had two divers earn the CAA Diver of the Year award. In 2012, Ceppa guided diver Derrick Butts to qualify for the NCAA Championships, becoming the first male diver in George Mason history to reach nationals.

Spending eight years at Rider, Ceppa was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Diving Coach of the Year five times. In his first season, three of his divers reached the finals of the MAAC Championships and he came home with a men's MAAC Diver of the Year, Chris Coles. Rider had seen divers finish in finals at the NCAA Division I Zone A Regional every year since 2003.

As an encore, Ceppa again coached the men's Diver of the Year at the 2005 MAAC Championships, Chris Coles, and the ECAC Diver of the Year, Korn. In 2005-06, his female divers reached the MAAC finals, his male divers won both the one-meter and the three-meter dives, and he again came home with the men's MAAC Diver of the Year, Dylan Korn. In 2007, Korn won again and so did Ceppa. The following season, Korn was again named Diver of the Meet along with Amanda Burke. Ceppa led Burke to the NCAA Diving championships, the first Bronc to ever qualify for NCAAs.

Going along with the achievements in the college ranks, Ceppa's pupils have thrived on the national level. Amanda Burke, a 2012 Olympic Trials finalist and 2013 World Championship team finalist, trained under Ceppa at the Mason Dive Academy, where the coach served as the program director.

Before his stint at Rider, Ceppa was a teacher at South Brunswick High School since 2003 and is a graduate of The College of New Jersey, where he was twice a national qualifier in diving and a four-time conference finalist.

Ceppa coached the Blue Dolphin Junior Olympic team from 1996-2010, where he worked with age group national finalists, senior national qualifiers, NCAA All-Americans and Olympic Trial finalists.


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