UGA Gymnastics

As of 2005 the University of Georgia (UGA) women's gymnastics program has won six National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles and fourteen Southeastern Conference (SEC) titles and has established one of the nation's highest attendance records for women's college gymnastics on an annual basis.
UGA established its women's gymnastics program in 1973 and named Melinda Airhart as the first head coach. The team, known as the Gym Dogs, became competitive in 1981 under the direction of coach Rick Walton. Walton was replaced after the 1983 season by Suzanne Yoculan, the former owner of a private gymnastics school in Pennsylvania. Under Yoculan's direction, the program won its first SEC title, in 1986, and its first national title, in 1987.
Yoculan has been named NCAA coach of the year three times and SEC coach of the year six times. After twenty-two seasons, Yoculan's record is 706-112-6 (she boasts a winning percentage of .860). Additionally, the Gym Dogs have produced fourteen NCAA individual champions, forty-nine NCAA all-Americans, five SEC gymnasts of the year, and six SEC freshmen of the year.
At the NCAA championships in 2003, the Gym Dogs placed third, and in 2004 they finished second. In 2005 the Gym Dogs placed first to win the national title for the sixth time. Overall, Georgia has placed third or higher in the NCAA team finals between 1987 and 2005, and the program achieved ten straight years, from 1996 to 2005, with thirty or more wins. The Gym Dogs have won fourteen conference titles, more than all other teams in the SEC combined. The 2004 season was UGA's second straight year to finish the SEC regular season undefeated.
With the program's success in the 1980s, attendance at home meets started to climb, and today the Gym Dogs sell out almost every meet at Stegeman Coliseum (which holds more than 9,900 fans). The Gym Dogs have hosted SEC championships, NCAA regionals, and three NCAA championships at Stegeman. The student support at home meets is one of the nation's best, and the student cheering section has been nicknamed the Gym Dog Pound.
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Cite This Article
Bernstein, Joshua D. "UGA Gymnastics." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 29 August 2013. Web. 21 April 2014.
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