UVa Diving Coach Fafara Retires

Fafara stepping down after 18 seasons

Aug. 24, 2007

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Dave Fafara, longtime Virginia men's and women's diving coach, announced Friday he is retiring from coaching. Fafara held the post at UVa for 18 years before officially deciding his business interests were becoming too time consuming to devote the time necessary to coach.

Fafara has given the Cavaliers over 25 years of collegiate and age-group coaching experience. During his time at Virginia he has mentored three Atlantic Coast Conference Divers of the Year. His student-athletes have garnered a total of nine one-meter and three-meter ACC titles. Many have gone on to very successful post-collegiate careers.

"It has been an honor and a pleasure to spend the last 18 years coaching at Virginia," Fafara said. "I could not have worked with a better person than Mark (Bernardino). He was great to work alongside of and I learned a lot about coaching from him. He is one of the best swimming coaches in the country. It was great to work with all the divers over the years; just a blast."

Virginia head swimming coach Mark Bernardino accepted Fafara's resignation with great sadness. "Dave is my close friend, a tremendous person and a wonderful coach," Bernardino said. "We have been together for so many years and his professional accomplishments are of significant merit. He has been `Virginia Diving' to all who know him."

The school record holders in the men's and women's one-meter and three-meter and men's platform diving events have come during Fafara's time at UVa.

Under Fafara, Katie Caratelli became the first Virginia diver to earn back-to-back conference Diver of the Year laurels when she claimed the award in 1997 and 1998. Prior to Caratelli's streak, Laurie Wagner was given the honor in 1996. Wagner won four ACC titles over the course of her career.

In 1993, Fafara coached Derek Husmann to two ACC championships in the one-meter and three-meter events. Husmann was dubbed the ACC Diver of the Year that season, the first under Fafara's tutelage.


Fafara spent three years as the diving coach at West Virginia before joining Mark Benardino's staff in 1989.

The Chicago native received his bachelor's degree in physical education and health from North Park College in 1980. While at North Park, Fafara was twice named Diver of the Year. He also holds a master's degree in counseling from West Virginia.

Fafara will continue to reside in Charlottesville with his wife, Kristi. He will focus on running his pool management company, Sun Sports, and his specialty coffee roasting business, Shenandoah Joe's.

"Dave's presence will be missed by everyone involved with our program," Bernardino continued. "The incredible success of both his businesses made it impossible for him to be in three places at once. We wish Dave and Kristin much continued happiness and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their 18 years of exceptional and devoted service to the Virginia program."

Dave Fafara coached the Virginia diving team for 18 years