Wenbo Chen, selected this past season as the Big Ten's Diving Coach of the Year, is in his fourth year at the helm of the Purdue diving program.
Since his arrival in West Lafayette, Chen has restored pride and prestige to the Purdue diving team, guiding ten different athletes to the NCAA Regional Zone Meet in three full seasons. His biggest success stories include NCAA qualifier Kara Hajek-Gustafson, three-time Regional Zone qualifier Clayton Davis and three-time Big Ten Champion Carrie McCambridge.
McCambridge won all three of her Big Ten titles at last year's conference championships, giving her Diver of the Year and Diver of the Championships honors. At the Big Ten meet, McCambridge also established new varsity records in all her competitions, finishing with scores of 321.80 (one-meter), 544.35 (three-meter) and 413.50 (platform).
Following the Big Ten Championships, Chen guided McCambridge to three top five-showings at the NCAA Central Regional Diving Zones, which clinched her first appearance at the NCAA Championships. Rookie diver Amanda Miller also joined McCambridge and Chen at NCAA's after placing among the top eight in the platform and one-meter competitions at the zone meet.
Success followed McCambridge to the NCAA Championships, where she became only the second Purdue diver in the history of the program (Nicole Zlotnik, 1992) to attain honroable mention All-America status.
This past summer, Chen traveled with McCambridge to a number of prestigious diving events, including the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials and the Speedo National Diving Championships. During the regular season, Chen had McCambridge compete at the World Cup Diving Trials.
Chen came to Purdue from Moultrie, Ga., where he was the head coach of the Moss Farms Diving Tigers program from 1996 to October 2001.
While at Moss Farms, Chen compiled an impressive record. Among his proteges: 2001 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers, Senior World champions and team members, Junior World champions and team members, U.S. and Canadian Senior National champions and team members, U.S. Junior National champions and team members, Can-Am-Mex Championships medalists and team members, and U.S. Goodwill Games team members.
Prior to his Moss Farms stint and his immigration to the United States in 1992, Chen began his coaching career and was one of the premier coaches in the Peoples' Republic of China. From 1983 to 1991, he was the coach of the Chinese National Team. During that time, he coached Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalists, as well as Chinese national champions and gold medalists in the World Championships, the World University Games and the Asia Championships.
Chen has had collegiate coaching experience as the head coach at Florida State in 1998 and as a visiting assistant coach at Illinois from 1992 to 1993.
Himself a decorated diver, Chen was one of the best divers in China from 1973 to 1982 as a member of the Chinese National Team. In 1976, he was the Chinese Junior National champion on the 3-meter springboard. Then, from 1977 to 1982, he was a finalist at the Chinese National Championships on both the 3- and 10-meter platforms.
A native of Beijing, Chen earned his bachelor's degree at Beijing Sports University in 1987. He is married to Wenyin Han, a former Chinese ballerina. The Chens reside in West Lafayette and have two daughters, Amy Yao (12) and Annie Yuan (3).