Ex-UI legend passes away

Ex-UI legend passes away

Charlie Pond, who led Illinois to four NCAA men''s gymnastics titles, died Thursday.

Pond, who was living in Dewey, Ariz., was 88.

"Charlie was a great and compassionate man who influenced so many people, including myself," UI gymnastics coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "He''s been a mentor to me."

Under Pond''s guidance, Illinois won national titles in 1950, ''55, ''56 and ''58. The Illini also won 11 consecutive Big Ten titles in a run that ended in 1960.

Pond, a gymnastics innovator, retired after the 1973 season. He finished 145-76-1 in 25 years.

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