Born in Urbana, I was a nine-time Big Ten champion for the Illinois women's gymnastics team, competing in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. I was the Big Ten's Gymnast of the Year in 1976 and '77.
When I became Illini men's gymnastics coach in 1930, none of my predecessors had held the position for more than four seasons. I spent 19 years in the role, building Illinois into a national power. My teams won four NCAA titles, all in succession starting in 1939. My squads also captured four Big Ten crowns and never finished worse than third in the league meet. I went on to coach Florida State to two NCAA titles and three AAU championships. In 1959, I was named to the Helms Foundation Athletic Hall of Fame.
I was one of the top collegiate gymnasts in the nation in the early 1950s. A two-time NCAA champion, I captured the gold medal in tumbling (1952) and floor exercise (1953). Six times I earned All-America honors, including three times in tumbling. I also won five Big Ten titles betwen 1951 and '53, including the all-around crown in 1952.
I had modest success in the Big Ten gymnastics meet, winning one title: the pommel horse in 1952. On a bigger stage, however, I left a major imprint. In 1952, I was the NCAA champion in the pommel horse. A year later, I earned All-America honors in that event as well as parallel bars and all-around. I went on to become the first executive director of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation and its successor organization, USA Gymnastics.
I was a three-time All-Big Ten performer in gymnastics. I captured a conference title in the vault in 1990, three years after I qualified for the NCAA meet in the all-around. Because of my accomplishments, I was voted to the Big Ten's All-Decade team for the 1980s.
MELBOURNE, Australia – Illinois gymnast Justin Spring, the U.S. National high bar champion, scored a 9.562 Tuesday to qualify as one of the reserves in the event at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
I was a four-time state champion in gymnastics at New Trier before arriving at Illinois, with three of those titles coming in 1957. That success carried over to college, where I was a seven-time All-American from 1960 to '62. The highlight of my career came in 1960, when I captured the NCAA title in floor exericise, an event I also won twice at the Big Ten meet. But I was hardly a one-event specialist, as I proved in 1962 by winning the Big Ten all-around crown.
CHAMPAIGN – Illinois women's gymnastics coach Bob Starkell signed three recruits to national letters of intent Wednesday.
Nicole Cowart of Greenwood, Ind.; Lori Hamilton of Mississauga, Ontario; and Sarah Schmidt of Hartland, Wis., will join the Illini in the fall of 2006.
I won consecutive Big Ten gymnastics titles in the side horse (now called the pommel horse) in 1971 and '72. Those were the Illini's first conference crowns in the event since 1962. I also was an All-American in the event in 1970. Before making my mark at Illinois, I was an IHSA state champion in the pommel horse in 1968 for Prospect High in Mount Prospect.
I was twice named the UI's most outstanding gymnast, securing those honors in 2001 and '02, though I shared it with Ashley Williams in the latter season. I was a regional qualifier three times: 2000 (balance beam), 2001 (all-around) and 2002 (all-around). My strongest event was the beam, where I recorded four scores of 9.925.