Aug. 31, 2005

What about Ohio State made you most attracted to the university when you decided to leave Albuquerque, New Mexico?
Actually I was staying home with my little boy when we moved to Columbus, and we moved for my husband’s job. Larry Cox, the former head coach contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in an assistant coaching job, and that’s a dream job really for an ex-gymnast, especially in the Big Ten.

Is it difficult going back to Penn State and trying to beat the school where you once competed?
No, I have a really good relationship with the two coaches at Penn State right now. They were my coaches so they know me really well. They know I was competitive when I was at Penn State and I’m still very competitive. Both of them fully understand that when we meet each year we go out for blood.

What one person had the biggest impact on the coaching style that you have today? Why?
I would say probably Donna Strous. She was the elite coach that coached me when I was at Parkets. I take bits and pieces from her style, certainly not everything. She was pretty hard core. It’s different coaching at the elite level as opposed to college. Different age groups and different intensities so I kind of take her intensity level and water it down for my girls.

What would be a greater thrill for you, to have one of you athletes win an NCAA championship or make the Olympic team? Why?
I think personally for me as a coach, to have an NCAA champion would be more fulfilling just because it would be a direct reflection of the work we did here at Ohio State and they would be representing Ohio State at the NCAA level.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?
I would say recovering from my broken leg that happened at the end of my sophomore year. It took me a full year to recover from it but I was able to contribute my senior year at NCAA championships.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment as a coach?
Just being named the head coach. As a young assistant coach for two years, to have the ability to move into a head coaching position this early in my career has been a great accomplishment.

What is the most fun part of being a college head coach?
Just being around the student athletes and understanding and knowing what they’re going through. And being able to have a direct impact on the challenges athletes face rather its academics, time management, or excelling in the gym. Because I have direct experience at another Big Ten university, I have a pretty good understanding of what they’re going through. It’s fun for me to have that hands on experience that a lot of former athletes don’t get to have.

Other than gymnastics, what is your favorite sport to watch?
Football. My husband played football at Penn State so it’s kind of embedded in our family.

What was your favorite event to participate in when you were in college? Why?
I really enjoyed competing in floor because it gave an opportunity to be expressive and get the crowd involved. Training wise, I’ve always like to train bars, and my senior year bars was the only event I was able to do because of my broken leg, so towards the end of my career it was kind of bars by default.

Who is your all-time favorite gymnast?
Mary Lou Retton. When she was competing in the 1984 Olympics I was first starting gymnastics. To have the Olympics be in Los Angeles and have the home town hero become an Olympic champion, I still remember sitting in my living room and watching it daily, and then taping it, and re-watching the videos, and just being in awe of her athletic ability.