Gordon Spencer, now one of the senior members of the Columbia Athletics' coaching staff, joined Columbia in 1983. He has built the Lions’ diving program into one of the most respected in the East, most recently with athletes such as Jayden Pantel who in 2014-15 became the first Columbia diver to compete in the NCAA Championships in the 14 seasons. Pantel capped a remarkable inagural collegiate season with a 30th-place finish in the platform dive at the NCAA Championships. Scott Troob ’04CC, earned honorable mention All-America honors in 2003, and five-time EISL Champion Mark Fichera ’02CC.
Also the women’s diving coach, he coached the 2008 Ivy League three-meter diving champion and Co-Diver of the Meet, Shannon Hosey ‘09SEAS, as well as the 2002 Ivy League three-meter diving champion and Outstanding Diver of the Meet Teresa Herrmann ‘05CC. He has also coached two-time All-Ivy League honoree Grace Coyle ‘05CC and school record-holder Leah Berger ’00CC.
Spencer came to Columbia from Kent State University, where he built a diving power in just two years. A native of Canton, Ohio, he was a three-time state finalist at Canton McKinley High School and attended Indiana University, where he competed under the legendary Hobie Billingsley, and reached the national championships. Spencer later coached at Billingsley’s diving school.
After his 1977 graduation, Spencer became an assistant diving coach at two Miami high schools. He returned to Kent State in 1981 and earned a master’s degree in athletic administration.
While his Columbia divers have been a deciding factor in many Lion victories, Spencer also has made a name for himself away from Morningside Heights. In 1991, he was named the Junior Olympic Zone A Coach of the Year.
Spencer is active in the diving scene outside of Columbia. He has served as a judge for the Senior National Diving Championships, and coaches an elite U.S. Diving club comprised of some of the best Junior Olympic divers in the nation. That program consistently produces East Coast champions and national age-group finalists on both platform and springboard. Former Lion standout Daniel Brown ’00CC dove for Spencer’s famed Morningside Heights club team. Most recently, Spencer coached Linus Altman-Kurosaki. Kurosaki was a US Junior World team member in 2006, and he is now a first-year diver on scholarship at Indiana University.
Spencer and his wife, Bertica, reside in Morningside Heights. Their daughter, Caitlin, is a senior at Webster University in Vienna, Austria.