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Kuni Schultz

Kuni SchultzAn expert diver and mentor, Kuni Schultz was like no other

By CHUCK HLAVA | Updated Nov 22, 2010

The sport of diving is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Long-time popular diving coach and instructor Kuni Schultz passed away on Nov. 19 following a bout with kidney problems. She was 84.

Schultz had been on dialysis for a number of weeks before succumbing and died on her husband’s birthday. He had preceded her in death by several years.

“It was a birthday present for my dad,” Kuni’s son, Sven Schultz said. “Happy Birthday, dad.”

Kuni Schultz left a memorable legacy in the Clear Lake area as a procession of hundreds of kids went through her hands-on diving instructions. She knew more about diving than anyone and that’s because she spent decades diving, not only for the East German Olympic diving team, but later in diving exhibitions.

Had Flo Ziegfeld known about her, he would have put Schultz in one of his elaborate show productions.

She was a big part of the Bay Area Stars and stayed with it until this past summer when health reasons forced her to curtail activities. BAYSA played a big part in provided kids in high school to obtain college scholarships in swimming and diving.

Schultz started the national age group program which evolved into big things, including US Diving.

In short, if there was water anywhere, you’d find Kuni Schultz.

Sven Schultz, Assistant Principal at Clear Brook High School, recalls his mother’s help when he was the school’s swimming and diving coach several years ago.

“She’d be at poolside watching them dive and give them pointers,” he recalled. “The kids kept her young.”

Even after her son entered the administration ranks at Clear Brook, Kuni Schultz stayed active all over the area.

So active, in fact, that last year she received the CCISD 2007 Volunteer of the Year award.
Kuni Schultz was born in Germany, six years after World War I ended. She met her husband, who was born in Latvia, near a castle below Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the 1940s. At that time her husband, Eyolf Schultz, was in the German army during World War II. As an interesting and historical sidebar, he questioned Joseph Stalin’s son after the Russian dictator’s son was captured by the Germany army.

After World War II the Russians occupied East Germany and Kuni gained fame as a diver and was selected for the East German Olympic diving team. She was on the team during the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

She married Eyolf Schultz and they eventually made their way to New York in the late 1950s. Kuni Schultz worked a pair of jobs to support them, including special shows. She already had a reputation as an excellent diver, plus her good looks in a bathing suit didn’t hurt, either.
“She sowed clothes in the morning land did the shows at night,” Sven Schultz said. “That’s how she put food on the table.”

In 1960 they moved to New Orleans, where Sven Schultz was born, and Kuni performed at Pontchartrain Beach.

Then came the big move to Houston and the Clear Lake area in 1963. It didn’t take her long to get into the swing of things. It wasn’t long before she became the Executive Director of the Dad’s Club YMCA here.

That was followed by the Bay Area Stars, Sven Schultz eventual position as coach of Clear Brook’s swimming and diving team in the late 1980s. Kuni Schultz seized the opportunity to bring world class diving to the area. The kids loved it.

“She had a mission,” Sven Schultz pointed out. “She felt if she worked them hard they would turn out to be nice people.

“Plus,” he quipped, “She wanted to keep an eye on her son.”

Another mission Kuni Schultz had was to write a book on the family, which she did. It is a thick, bound document that marks 100 years in the life of the family. The volume includes lots of experiences and photos.

Sven Schultz is a strong proponent of 3-meter diving. The local high schools only have 1-meter diving which basically is no good if a diver wants to compete at higher levels. There are no 1-meter events in the Olympics, only 3-meter and platform diving. The closest 3-meter board is in Texas City.

“The kids need the 3-meter board. You have to have it if you expect to go on,” he said.

Kuni Schultz would certainly agree.