Gymnastics News Network
By Terri Laymon
College Gymnastics season is over and now the “Shake-Up” begins! Depending on how well teams competed, scored and placed throughout the season could mean keeping your job and/or scholarship or possibly having some very devastating news handed to you.
The NC State Wolfpack gymnastics team was the first to announce shocking news as head coach Mark Stevenson retired after 37 years of coaching. However, along with Stevenson retiring, rumor was spreading that both assistant coaches were released from their positions pending a re-hire option from the new head coach, if he/she desired; however, GNN has not found this to be true, as yet.
Speculation swirled through the community as to whether or not Stevenson retired by choice, was actually forced to retire, or released due to non-performance. Stevenson has won the EAGL conference championship six times throughout his leadership, the last being in 2013.
However, NC State is not the only college shaking up the gymnastics team. The Georgia GymDogs have recently released three gymnasts (1 scholarship athlete and 2 walk-ons) from the team. Juniors Natalie Vaculik and Jasmine Arnold and sophomore Caroline Bradford were suddenly and immediately kicked-off the team with no explanation sighting confidentiality.
The exact reasons for the gymnasts no longer being on the team are confidential,” Durante remarked. “They are great kids. Dismissal makes them sound like a problem, which they weren’t.”
While Bradford and Arnold did not compete for the team this past season, Vaculik proved to be a valuable part of the line-up for the past couple years, competing in every meet this past season.
Gymnasts are generally reprimanded before such harsh actions are taken. The cause of termination for these three gymnasts leads one to think that some type of conduct code was violated.
Questions have also been raised about the performance from the GymDog team lead by head coach Danna Durante. Coming off a rather rough season, the GymDogs barely made the regional six advancing to Nationals; then placing last in their semi-final giving them a 12th place finish overall at the NCAA National Championships.
Durante postponed the end-of-the-season banquet until August saying a restructuring of the team was in order prior to celebrating the achievements made from the 2017 season.
The very next day, head coach Durante was also released from her position with the Georgia GymDogs. Failing to bring home a Nationals Championship following in the footsteps of former head coach Suzanne Yoculan, Durante was able to qualify the GymDogs to three Super Six Finals in her five years with Georgia, but never placed higher than a fifth place finish.
Many are curious as to what actually occurred and why such drastic measured were taken.
Even as this article is being written, there is yet another rumor is circulating that Kim Landrus, Illinois head coach, has also been released from her position as the Illinois administration has chosen not to renew her contract.
Allegations have been reported that Illinois has had some trouble with mistreatment of athletes. This would give the athletic director probable cause for termination. (We will keep you updated to confirm or nullify this story.)
This will probably just be the beginning of a series of “restructuring” moves made with the NCAA circle. Colleges like to win. When a team wins, not only does the team and the school get the bragging rights and notoriety, but the college and the team are given more money from the league (SEC, ACC, Big 10, PAC 12, etc…) to buy equipment and uniforms. So, it comes as no surprise that everyone from the gymnasts to the coaches to the athletic director want winning teams.
While only those on the inside would be the only people who know for sure why gymnasts are dismissed from a team or coaches retire or are let go, restructuring of a team or the coaching staff only lead people to assume the worst. It’s human behavior.
As we head into summer, it is the time to watch who is coming and who is going. As for NC State and Georgia – we’ll keep our eyes open since they have already begun the process.
Source: Twitter, NC State Athletics, Georgia Athletics
#gnn #loveoursport #gymnastslivehere