Nov. 18, 2008
From Lehigh Athletic Communications
Tim Diamond was always heavily involved in sports while growing up. He began playing hockey when he was just six, and soon after took up soccer, basketball and baseball. Diamond loved being outdoors and enjoyed playing countless sports. However, the closest he could get to a football field was his own backyard. "My mom would not let me play organized football when I was young for fear of me getting hurt," Diamond says. "But I would play in my backyard with my brothers and cousins. They'd make me the running back and really enjoyed chasing me down and piling on top of me. I think that's where I got my toughness from."
Diamond's mother, Joan, eventually gave into the prodding of Tim and his father, Jim, and allowed Tim to play football once he reached eighth grade. He also stuck with ice hockey and baseball, but football was where Diamond had the most fun. "My mom still gets nervous at all of the games," Diamond says, "but my parents have been to just about every game, home and away, while I've been at Lehigh. It's great to have that type of support."
After playing safety during the beginning of his high school career, Diamond switched to linebacker for his senior season at Lakeland High School in New Jersey, where he garnered All-State, All-County and All-League accolades in football and baseball. When deciding where to attend college, Diamond sent his recruiting tape to Lehigh, and was contacted by former Mountain Hawks Defensive Coordinator Shannon Morrison. While Diamond considered other schools in the Patriot and Ivy Leagues, none gave him the feeling that Lehigh did. "The environment of the school was appealing, all of the players on the team were very welcoming and I felt comfortable on my visit here."
Once he arrived at Lehigh as a 190-pound freshman, Diamond knew right away he was in for a challenge to get onto the field. "Obviously everyone wants to play right away, but I knew it would be tough during my first year. So I just worked hard every day and did all I could at practice to make myself into a better player." He continued, "The physical aspect was definitely demanding, but the mental part of the game was just as tough. Trying to learn the new schemes and reads was a big challenge."
Diamond also had another secret to help him make his way onto the field. "I ate a lot. I was eating as much as I could to try and gain weight." Diamond's strength and weight began to increase, and by the time he was a sophomore, he was a mainstay on Lehigh's special teams as well as a solid backup linebacker.
That set the stage for Diamond's junior year, in which he put together one of the best seasons for a Lehigh defensive player in recent memory. "I moved to the inside linebacker spot that year and it was a great move. It allows me to use my strengths, such as my speed, to make plays."
A supply chain management major, Diamond registered 107 tackles in 2007, becoming the first Mountain Hawk with 100 or more tackles since 2004. The highlight of his year was a 22-tackle performance in a win over eventual Ivy League Champion Harvard that earned him Defensive Player of the Week honors from numerous national outlets. For his efforts, Diamond was named a First-Team All-Patriot League linebacker and he also received Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Sports Network.
"Tim is one of those kids that's always around the ball," Lehigh head coach Andy Coen explains. "He's smart, tough and has a great motor." When asked about those comments from his head coach, the senior captain quickly deflects the praise and mentions his teammates. "A lot of the credit has to go to the defensive line. They do a great job and really open up the holes for me to make plays."
Diamond admits that he has grown into a student of the game while at Lehigh, learning the importance of off-the-field preparation such as weight training and studying film. "I take a lot of pride in the way that I prepare. In the last two years or so I've become more dedicated to watching film and looking for player tendencies and different formations of an offense." He continues, "Coach (Dave) Kotulski has done a great job of grooming all of the linebackers and I've tried to take some of his knowledge and use it, too."
With his Lehigh career down to its final two games, Diamond reflects on his time in the Brown and White. "It's helped shape me as a person with the amount of personal responsibility you have to take on. I had a chance to meet people from all over the country, and it was the first time I lived on my own, so it's really helped prepare me for life after graduation."