GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn announced Friday that she is leaving the Gators program to become Senior Vice President of USA Gymnastics.
Faehn just finished her 13th season as head of the Gators program, with Florida taking the last three NCAA Championships. She was a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team and was a four-year member of the U.S. National Team.
“The University of Florida has provided an opportunity of a lifetime for me, my family and our student-athletes and I am so grateful,” said Faehn. “I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding and supportive atmosphere to do what I love.
“This amazing opportunity with USA Gymnastics provides a new and different way for me to impact young lives. I will always love the University of Florida and will treasure my time here. But my passion and excitement for Elite gymnastics is pulling me a different direction and the timing is right for me and my family. I want to have a positive influence on the athletes and coaches that will represent our country at the highest level.”
Faehn took the Gators program from national qualifier to national contender to NCAA champion during her tenure. The last three NCAA Championships have been claimed by the Gators -- the first NCAA team titles in the program’s 43-year history.
Florida was the first head coaching position for Faehn when she took the position in May 2002. In her second season, the Gators advanced to the 2004 NCAA Super Six team final for the first time since 1998. Since that time, the Gators have been a Super Six regular, advancing in 10 of Faehn’s 13 seasons. Florida has 10 top-five NCAA finishes since 2004.
“I have such mixed emotions right now,” said Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley. “Of course, I’m happy for this wonderful opportunity for Rhonda. She will continue to make a difference in young athlete’s lives with USA Gymnastics, just like she’s done at Florida.
“But also there is sadness. Rhonda came in here 13 years ago, sharing our vision that Florida could be a national contender. She went to work and made that vision a reality. And in the last three years, she taken this program from nationally prominent to national champion. She’s done an absolutely spectacular job.”