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Touch ’em all: Mike Brown serves as diving coach for all five high schools in Roseville

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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There was a three-way diving meet Thursday evening at Oakmont High School. Announcing and instructing was coach Mike Brown.

Two-time Sac-Joaquin Section champion Elliott Adams of Granite Bay answered to Brown. So did Fresno State-bound Sarah Strand of Oakmont, Woodcreek freshman Harlie Hedger and Roseville sophomore Amanda Smith, too.

That’s because Brown isn’t just a diving coach; he’s THE diving coach – for all of Roseville. Brown coaches all four Roseville schools and Antelope, too.

So on Thursday night, Brown led Antelope vs. Whitney, Woodcreek against Del Oro, and Roseville and Granite Bay against each other.

“I’m in the unique position of saying no matter who wins, my team won,” says Brown, who’s in his 21st year as a coach in the Sacramento area and 16th in Roseville. “I’m coaching for five schools, and I have 10 bosses. The head swimming coach and the athletic director are my bosses.”

Oakmont is the only high school in Roseville with diving boards. The teams can travel to Nevada Union and Bella Vista, which have boards, but all meets in Roseville are held at Oakmont. The kids congregate for practices, too. The divers hit the pool after Oakmont’s swimming team finishes, usually about 6 p.m.

“If I tried to run more than one practice, I’d be there until 9 o’clock,” Brown says. “That wouldn’t be the best thing with homework and all of that.”

Think about it, Adams says, and having one coach for five schools can seem “weird.” Smith thought it was “funny” the first time she heard about it.

It’s certainly different, “But with diving, you become friends with a lot more people,” says Adams, who will dive next school year for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has had Brown as his coach since he was 8 years old. “It’s like you’re on one big team. You’re all cheering for each other.”

With Oakmont competing in the Capital Valley Conference, Antelope in the Capital Athletic League and the other Roseville schools in the Sierra Foothill League, Brown convinced the Roseville Joint Union High School District he needed help.

“Because I appealed to their sense of logic and couldn’t be in two or three places at the same time, they hired me an assistant coach,” Brown says.

Assistant McKenna Long was coached by Brown when she was at Granite Bay. She went on to dive at Cal Poly. Brown coaches divers on one board with Long handling the other board.

Smith says Brown is one of the best coaches she’s had while also considering him a second father to the entire team.

Says Adams, “He’s been around diving his entire life. He just knows a lot about the sport. He knows when you’re having trouble with a dive. He’s been there. He knows how to get you motivated for a dive.”

The postseason isn’t far off, and Brown wants to see all of his teams succeed. He has high hopes for several divers.

“When I go into a meet, like (SFL) championships where I represent three schools, how can I favor anybody? I have a totally different view of the meets than the swim coaches,” says Brown, a former girls basketball coach. “Since I represent all the schools, I’m at the point where my allegiance is to my divers. When I go into the meet, the best way to look at it is, I hope all my divers do their absolute best. I hope they’re having fun.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com.