Gymnastics News Network
By: Eileen Patchey
Penn State women’s gymnastics head coach Sarah Brown has announced the addition of Dallas Becerra and Robert Drass to the coaching staff as assistant coaches. Becerra was an assistant coach under Coach Brown last season at Eastern Michigan, while Coach Brown was a student-athlete under Drass at Missouri from 2008-10.
“I’m so excited to have Rob and Dallas join the Penn State women’s gymnastics staff,” Brown said. “The relationships I’ve built with these two men of the last few years will allow us to hit the ground running when they’re on campus. I’ve had great experiences with each of them and I look forward to them being in Happy Valley.”
Becerra comes to Penn State after spending the 2017 season as an assistant coach under Coach Brown at Eastern Michigan. While at Eastern Michigan, Becerra served as the recruiting coordinator, bars coach and he helped with the program’s social media efforts. As the bars coach last season, Becerra’s gymnasts set a school record score of 49.3 and Kendall Valentin became the program’s first All-American.
“Dallas and I worked so well together in previous years and we had a great amount of success at Eastern Michigan that I know this transition will be smooth,” Brown noted. “He will be a huge asset to our bar team and will bring energy and enthusiasm to each practice. Dallas has grown as a collegiate coach in so many ways and I knew he would be a great fit for our team the moment he stepped on campus.”
Before joining the Eastern Michigan Eagles, Becerra was the primary bars coach at the AIM Gymnastics Training Center in The Woodlands, Texas. At the AIM Gymnastics Training Center, he developed a new training system for optional-level gymnasts on bars, in addition to being the main spotter for level 10 and elite gymnasts on floor and bars. He also assisted in creating conditioning circuits to help the overall fitness of his gymnasts.
Becerra began his coaching career serving as the women’s optional coach at FlipzUSA Gymnastics in Columbia, Mo. During his time at FlipzUSA Gymnastics, Becerra created daily workout plans and drills for optional gymnasts, ranging from level eight through level 10. Overall, he provided a safe environment at practice for all athletes, utilizing spotting techniques learned at coaching clinics.
A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, Becerra earned a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation, and tourism with an emphasis in sport management from the University of Missouri in 2013.
“I am so excited to become a part of the Penn State family,” Becerra said. “The Big Ten is a very competitive conference and I look forward to working as a team to get Penn State to the top! I would like to thank Sarah Brown and the administration for this amazing opportunity!”
Drass, an alum of the Penn State men’s gymnastics program, joins the Nittany Lions after serving as the assistant head coach for the University of Pittsburgh women’s gymnastics team from 2014-17. Along with his time at Pittsburgh, Drass brings a wealth of coaching experience to Happy Valley.
“Rob was my coach in college and he had a huge impact on my coaching philosophy,” Brown added. “I know that his knowledge as a previous head coach will bring Penn State women’s gymnastics back to the national stage. The fact that Rob is coming back to his alma mater will enrich the pride and tradition we have here at Penn State and I’m excited for him to share his experiences as a student-athlete with me and the team,” Brown said.
Prior to joining the Panthers, Drass was the head coach at the University of Missouri from 1999-2013. As the head coach of the Mizzou Tigers, Drass was tabbed the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2002, and he led his team to seven top-20 NCAA finishes. In 2010, the Tigers captured an NCAA Regional title and a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
After completing his career as a student-athlete at Penn State, Drass was a member of the University of Nebraska women’s gymnastics coaching staff from 1991-99 where he served as the primary recruiter. During his time at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers won six Big 8/Big 12 conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Championships four times, which included two Super Six appearances.
Drass is a 1990 graduate of Penn State as he obtained a bachelor’s degree in marketing with an emphasis in finance and computer science. He then went on to earn an MBA with a concentration in strategic management and long-range planning from the University of Nebraska in 1994.
“I am very excited to return to Penn State,” Drass said. “Returning to Happy Valley is getting back to where it all started in a lot of ways for me and that is extremely exciting.”
A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Drass is married to Dr. Joy C. Drass and they have two children, Molly and James.
Becerra and Drass will begin their duties on staff on July 10.
Source: Penn State Athletics
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