Michael Grapner is in his seventh season as the diving coach for the Mountaineer swimming and diving program after joining the team in December 2010.
The WVU divers had one of the best showings at the 2015-16 NCAA Zone Championships in team history, with eight Mountaineers competing - Lindsay Schmidt, Madelyn Woods, Julia Calcut, Alex Obendorf, Logan McHenry, Michael Proietto, Austin Smith and Emmott Blitch. Three Mountaineers advanced to finals in their events, also a number that stands out in the WVU record books, as Proietto, Obendorf and Calcut reached the finals.
At the Big 12 Championship, Austin Smith set a school record mark of 322.55 on platform.
Grapner helped coach the Mountaineer men to earning a second-place finish overall at the 2016 conference championship, posting their best finish at the meet since joining the Big 12, while the women’s squad finished fourth.
Academically, 24 members of the WVU swimming and diving team were named to the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Team.
In the 2014-15 season, Grapner coached four divers who earned All-Big 12 honors at the Big 12 Championship.
On the men’s platform, freshman Alex Obendorf placed second with a score of 299.90 to earn All-Big 12 First Team accolades, while fellow freshmen Michael Proietto and Logan McHenry earned All-Big 12 Second Team recognition for finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the event.
WVU junior Lindsay Schmidt set a school record of 322.60 on the women’s 3-meter board to earn All-Big 12 First Team accolades. Senior Haily VandePoel placed fourth overall with a score of 222.60 and was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, and fellow senior Jennifer Rey finished eighth with a mark of 179.10 at the Big 12 Championship.
Grapner coached Haily VandePoel to a top-eight finish at the 2013-14 NCAA Zone “A” Diving Championships. Four of Grapner’s divers went on to earn 2014 CSCAA Scholar All-America distinctions.
The 2012-13 season was a banner year for the diving squad as Grapner sent six student-athletes to the NCAA Zone “A” Diving Championships, the most WVU divers to ever qualify. Haily VandePoel highlighted the event for the Mountaineer women, finishing in seventh place on the 3-meter, while Liam McLaughlin took 16th on the 3-meter for the men.
At the 2013 Big 12 Championships, there were four top-eight finishers on the men’s 1-meter, while the women’s 1-meter had two top-eight finishers. On the 3-meter, the men had three in the Top 8 and VandePoel placed fifth for the women.
In 2011-12, VandePoel and Richard Pokorny represented WVU at the NCAA Zone “A” Diving Championships, while three divers scored at the Big East Championships. For the men, Pokorny finished third on the 1-meter and third on the 3-meter, and Matt O’Neill took second on the 3-meter and 10th on the 1-meter. VandePoel finished sixth on the 3-meter for the women.
In his first season at the helm, O’Neill and Pokorny each qualified for the 2011 NCAA Zone “A” Diving Championships, while both divers also earned points at the Big East Championships.
Prior to joining WVU, Grapner served as the head coach of Redhawk Elite Diving (Aug. 2010-Dec. 2010) and Talawanda High (Jan. 2007-Dec. 2010). He also served as head coach at U.S. Elite Diving Academy in the Oxford, Ohio satellite (Aug. 2006-July 2010), Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (Oct. 2007-March 2009), and was the interim coach at Miami (Ohio) for the 2006 fall semester.
While Grapner was coaching for U.S. Elite Diving, the team won the 2010 USA Speedo Junior National Team Championships and the 2010 U.S. Diving East National Team Championship. He has also coached at the USA Diving Junior National and International Championships for five seasons.
Grapner’s high school athletes have seen much success as well. Grapner has coached finalists in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. He specifically coached the Kentucky men’s state champion, Kentucky’s two-time women’s runner-up and Ohio’s women’s runner-up.
Grapner was the meet director for the 2010 USA Diving East Junior National Championship, the 2009 USA Diving Region 4 Championship and the 2006 Miami University Diving Invitational. He also served as a three-year coach at the Indiana University and Miami University Diving Camps.
At the collegiate level, Grapner was a two-year member of the UNC Wilmington diving squad from 2003-05. While at UNC Wilmington, the squad won two conference championships and Grapner was a finalist at the championships. He also represented the squad on the Student Athlete Athletic Council in 2004.
Grapner graduated from Miami (Ohio) University with a bachelor’s degree in health sports studies in 2008, while earning his master’s from Ohio University in sport science and coaching education in 2010.