Feb. 25, 2008
AUBURN - Coaches Richard Quick and Jeff Shaffer, along with swimmers Cesar Cielo and Kara Denby, earned four of the SEC's postseason honors, the league announced Monday.
Quick, Auburn's first-year head coach, was named SEC Men's Coach of the Year while Shaffer, AU's diving coach, was named SEC Men's Diving Coach of the Year. Cielo earned SEC Male Swimmer of the Year honors with Denby being named the SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Quick earns conference coach of the year honors for the sixth time in his career, but this marks his first SEC coaching honor. Quick was named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1985 and the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1989, 1992, 1995 and 2001. His award also makes the 10th time an Auburn coach has been named SEC Men's Coach of the Year after David Marsh earned the award nine times during his tenure as Auburn's coach.
The Tigers are coming off their 12th consecutive SEC Championship last weekend, their 14th overall championship. Auburn scored 806 points to pull out a 94-point victory over Florida, its nearest competitor.
"It's a real credit to our coaching staff and the student-athletes and I'm honored to be coach of the year," said Quick. "But, the credit really goes to the athletes and the coaching staff. They have done an extraordinarily outstanding job all year long."
Shaffer, who is in his ninth season at Auburn, earns SEC Men's Diving Coach of the year honors for the third time in his career after also picking up the award in 2004 and 2007. It is his seventh overall coach of the year award after being named SEC Women's Diving Coach of the Year in 1994, Pac-10 Men's Diving Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999, and Pac-10 Women's Diving Coach of the Year in 1998.
Coach Jeff Shaffer
"No coach coaches to get accolades or honors for themselves, this just reflects the hard work of all four divers we had at the SEC," said Shaffer. "Obviously, their performance at SECs was very strong in winning two titles and Dan (Mazzaferro) setting a new platform scoring record was honor enough as a coach. Again, it is an honor, but I am happier that my athletes are doing what they love to do."
Auburn's men were very strong at last weekend's SEC Championships. Kelly Marx led the group as he won the 1-meter title, finished second on the 3-meter and third on platform. Mazzaferro also had an impressive performance as he set a new SEC record with a score of 444.65 as he won the platform title. He also posted fourth-place finishes on both springboards.
In a unique circumstance, the Shaffers made it a family affair in the SEC diving coach awards as Doug Shaffer of LSU, the younger brother of Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer, was named SEC Women's Diving Coach of the Year.
"It just shows that at the SEC, the Shaffers are pretty strong in diving," said Jeff Shaffer. "Doug started diving when he was about six years old and I was able to coach him and help him along as his career got going. I was very happy to see that as he had a very successful season this year in both his men's and women's diving program."
Cielo, the 2007 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, becomes just the third Tiger ever to be named SEC Men's Swimmer of the Year. Brock Newman was the first Auburn swimmer to take the honor in 1999 and was followed by Fred Bousquet in 2004.
Cielo is coming off a very successful outing at the SEC Championships, winning six SEC titles and setting three new SEC records. Individually, the junior from St. Barbara, Brazil won the 50 free (18.91) and 100 free (41.78), setting conference records in both events. Auburn also won all four relays Cielo swam on, taking the titles in the 200 free relay (leadoff, 18.96), 400 free relay (leadoff, 41.25), 200 medley relay (freestyle, 18.53) and the 400 medley relay (freestyle, 41.80). Cielo's 41.25 leadoff in the 400 free relay broke the SEC record in the 100 free that he set earlier in the night.
The only event Cielo competed in that he did not win was the 200 free, finishing third with a time of 1:34.35. His time in the event ranks third all-time at Auburn.
Denby, a senior from Simi Valley, Calif., earns SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors for the second year in a row, this year sharing the award with Tennessee's Christine Magnuson.
"I'm pretty excited about getting it a second time, it is a huge honor," said Denby. "Auburn really tries to emphasize both the academics and athletics, and I'm proud to be able to represent Auburn in that way."
Denby is a 17-time All-American and has maintained a 3.93 grade-point average while on a pre-med path (zoology). The 2007 Swimming and Diving Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year is a four-time SEC Champion, winning the 400 free relay, 800 free relay and 200 medley relay in 2006 and the 100 breast and 400 medley relay this season.
She has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a CSCAA Academic All-American and a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. Denby also swam for the United States last summer at the World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand, winning a gold medal on the 400 free relay team. She has also been chosen to the U.S. national team for the 2008 FINA World Short Course Championships, set for April 9 - 13 in Manchester, England.
Also honored by the SEC on Monday were members of the all-conference teams. To make the first-team, a student-athlete had to win and event as runner-up finishers were named to the second-team.
Making the women's All-SEC first team from Auburn were Maggie Bird, Kara Denby, Caitlin Geary, Emily Kukors, Melissa Marik, Margo McCawley and Ava Ohlgren. Auburn placed the most swimmers on the women's first-team with seven as Tennessee was the nearest team with five. Making the All-SEC second team were Alana Dillette and Emile Ewing.
For the men, the Tigers again led the conference with eight All-SEC first team selections, beating out Florida and Tennessee with four each. Making the first team from Auburn were Cesar Cielo, Scott Goodrich, Kelly Marx, Dan Mazzaferro, Kohlton Norys, Alexei Puninski, Steve Scheren and Michael Silva.
Earning a spot on the All-SEC second team were Jordan Anderson and Adam Klein.
The SEC-champion Auburn swimming and diving teams are now preparing to defend their titles at the NCAA Championships. The women's championships are slated for March 20-22 in Columbus, Ohio while the men's NCAAs are scheduled for March 27-29 in Federal Way, Wash.