Calvin Coach Retires With The Longest Conference Winning Streak Ever
Whoever follows Brian Diemer as Calvin University's Cross Country coach has big shoes to fill, and a huge winning streak to continue.
Once Brian Diemer Started Winning Titles, He Couldn't Stop
Diemer took over as cross country coach at then Calvin College back in the fall of 1986. He quickly led the running Knights to their first ever conference championship in the MIAA, and then never let it go.
That's right, the Knights have won the MIAA men's cross country championship for 34 consecutive years, a conference record for most successive championships won in ANY sport, a record that is still rolling.
Following this track and field season at Calvin, where Diemer also is the distance running coach, he will retire after 36 seasons.
Diemer won a total of 43 titles at Calvin, with the women's team picking up another nine conference titles.
He Got His Job As A Stop Gap Measure
Diemer told CalvinKnights.com that he originally took the job so that then head coach and athletic director David Tuuk could write a book on coaching.
"My stint was to be a two-year term with no chance of continuing because I was not faculty or staff at Calvin College. Apparently, some concessions were made, because I will be finishing 36 years of coaching at Calvin next month."
That first season, his team was edged out by arch rival Hope College in the MIAA Conference Championships. His Knights then won it the next season and never relinquished it.
His Knight teams also won four NCAA Division III national titles under Diemer's helm, the first coming in 2000, and then back to back titles in 2003-2004, and the last in 2006. They were national runners up four other times, and Great Lakes Regional titles 28 times.
Diemer Was A Standout Runner In His Own Right, Winning An Olympic Medal
Brian began his running career as a cross country standout at South Christian High in Byron Center. From there, he became a Big Ten cross country and track star at the University of Michigan and qualified for three straight Olympic Games, starting in 1984. That year, he won the bronze medal in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Los Angeles games, and later captained the Olympic team of 1992 in Barcelona.
He also won the Glen Cunningham Award as the nation's best long distance runner in 1989, and in 2000 was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.
He also has hosted road races for charity in Grand Rapids for 32 years, with the next Diemer Family of Races coming up June 11.
Prior to this season, he announced it would his last, and told CalvinKinghts.com it will be the students he will miss the most:
"I will miss the kids and challenging them to 'strive for excellence! They always gave me so much of their heart and efforts! They would do the work I asked for and they would start believing in themselves. To see that was and is a beautiful thing!"
Watch as Brian earns an Olympic bronze medal in the 1984 Steeplechase event.
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