Categorized | Club, Elite, Men's Gymnastics, NCAA

Cal Men’s Gymnastics, Coach Wooden and Other Things

Posted on 24 June 2010 by admin

Gymnastics fans are starting to come through.  Cal’s men’s gymnastics program needs help now, like no other time.  A Facebook fan site has been created by Cal gymnast Daniel Geri, and a donations site is up and running.  While supposedly nothing definitive has been planned by the school, Cal officials make it no secret that several programs are on the chopping block, and that Title IX must be factored into the equation.  This is a no-brainer, folks.  If we want to keep men’s gymnastics alive, Cal’s program must survive.  Cal’s demise would have too many negative repercussions for other programs, especially for Stanford.

According to All-American Stanford grad and 2012 Olympic hopeful Sho Nakamori:  "Losing Cal would have a huge negative impact on not only Stanford, but the entire NCAA.  The NCAA scene will be completely different without them.  They’re also one of the top public schools in the U.S.  It’ll be a bummer if the kids lose the opportunity to attend such a strong academic institution because they don’t offer the sport that they’ve been involved in for so long."

The potential elimination of another men’s program hits close to home for Woodward West Gymnastics Camp Director Andy Timm, who competed at Arizona State.  Timm recently commented on the state of Cal’s program:  "Every time a program gets dropped, it affects gymnastics as a whole.  Not that any one program is bigger than others, but Cal is a top-of-the-line program and I cannot believe that the school is thinking about dropping it.  Cal has been one of the top teams in the country, and is one of the few teams left out west that has a top program.  This would be a terrible loss for the sport.  I remember when ASU lost its program… It’s a travesty to the sport and to college sports in general."

Now is not the time to shaft a prime-time Olympic sport at one of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions.  This would be tantamount to Iowa or Iowa State getting rid of their storied world-class wrestling programs.  Should this be so hard to comprehend?  California’s fiscal problems shouldn’t be a means to enable a Title IX agenda.  The Cal men’s gymnastics program should be one of the top programs at that school to protect.  Even if it’s not a Title IX issue, men’s gymnastics shouldn’t be one of the programs being used by the school’s sports-averse faculty as a tool to further their selfish agenda.

Cal’s men’s gymnastics program had a perfect score in the NCAA’s recent APR report.  That alone should make the program immune to any nefarious attempts for elimination.  Additionally, how in the hell can a school get rid of a program that is now producing athletes that are legitimate contenders for spots on the 2012 Olympic team?

Earlier this year, the Cal State Fullerton women’s program was saved, thanks to the generosity of the gymnastics community.  As important as that was, the fate of the Cal’s men’s program could ultimately determine the fate and the overall health of collegiate men’s gymnastics.  It’s important that the same people who helped Fullerton show some love for the men.  We would love to see the top personalities and talents on the women’s side flex their muscles for men’s gymnastics.  Do you hear us, Nastia and Shawn?

Other Things

Jesse Glenn earned the privilege to represent the USA at the Youth Olympic Games that will be held August 14-26 in Singapore.  Glenn, who trains at SCATS in Huntington Beach, CA under the tutelage of Coach Grigor Chalikyan, is a current member of the Junior National Team.  Among his many achievements are 4th AA at the 2009 JO Nationals and 4th AA at the 2009 VISA U.S. Championships, where he also captured the national championship on vault.

According to the 2010 Japan Cup’s website, John Orozco has replaced Danell Leyva on the participant list.  Chris Brooks, who was listed as an alternate by USAG on June 7, is now on the five-man squad.  The odd man out is Paul Ruggeri, or is he?  Perhaps the lineup is subject to change. The Japan Cup will be held July 3-4.  The top 12 gymnasts (max. 2 per country) will advance to the all-around finals on July 4.

Gymnastike’s Amy Kleefisch has a very interesting interview with Stanford Coach Thom Glielmi that focuses on Stanford’s recruiting process.  Glielmi offers great advice to young gymnasts about when they should start looking at schools.  To get into a school like Stanford, athletes should start preparing for a rigorous college-track academic path as early as 8th grade.  As for Glielmi’s goals for recruiting athletes, if they don’t have the SAT scores and unique attributes, they simply won’t be admitted.  This is a must-view interview for all young student athletes.

Sho Nakamori’s recent blog posting links to a great article Patty Fisher wrote about him in the San Jose Mercury. Sho is cranking it up at full speed and will be ready to compete at the Visa U.S. Championships in August.  His re-emergence after a bad knee injury is a very welcome sign.

Iowa has announced that former Stanford Assistant Coach JD Reive has replaced long-time Hawkeyes’ Coach Tom Dunn, who announced his retirement after the 2010 season.  Reive played a great role in the Stanford program’s success over the last seven seasons.

Coach Wooden

The Wizard of Westwood, Coach John Wooden, passed away a few weeks ago.  Coach Wooden obviously had an incredible impact on many lives.  I grew up in the midwest and didn’t miss a minute of his coaching exploits.  So important was UCLA basketball, that even the midwest was treated to occasional television broadcasts of the more high profile Bruins games.  I’ll never forget staying up late at night, unbeknownst to my parents, to tune in to syndicated Raycom broadcasts of UCLA basketball games that were memorably called by Dick Enberg.  After my parents finally figured out what I was doing, my Mom (a huge sports fan) eventually joined the viewing pleasure.  Wooden was such an incredible icon, that most in the midwest at that time, just couldn’t figure it out.  How was he able to successfully recruit such great talent and coach them to such great consistent heights?  Well, he didn’t always have the greatest talent, but he certainly was able to coach them to unfathomable high levels.

He "retired" at the age of 64… 35 years ago.  Anybody and everybody is envious of the 35 years of retirement that he enjoyed.  But was it really retirement?  Probably every major corporation has paid to have Coach Wooden speak at their functions.  Coach Wooden made more money in retirement than he made in his coaching career.  But that’s not what made Coach Wooden tick.  Coach Wooden succeeded because of the incredible number of relationships he had, and because of the amount of love and passion for life he exuded.  That love obviously went both ways.  If Mount Rushmore had more room, his face would be the logical one to fill it.  Coach John Wooden’s life transcended sports.  Oh, and by the way, he was a huge gymnastics fan!



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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Ono No Komachi Says:

    1) Japan Cup Mystery solved (sort of)

    Ruggeri and Brooks are both in Japan, along with Cameron, Horton, Naddour and Orozco. The final 5 will be determined after a podium training 7/2.

    2) USAG breaks silence regarding California

    “USA Gymnastics is aware of the challenges intercollegiate athletics in general, and gymnastics specifically, may face at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as some of the initial efforts of support for the gymnastics programs. We are speaking with the athletic director to understand the circumstances and the most effective way to address them. Once we have a better understanding of the matter, we will work with the appropriate entities to develop a full-fledged and targeted effort”

    C’mon. This is not that complicated.

  2. admin Says:

    Ono, you’re right… it isn’t that complicated. The relative silence is maddening.

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