Sept. 14, 2000
University of Illinois head men's gymnastics coach Yoshi Hayasaki has named Jon Valdez as his top assistant coach for the nationally ranked Illini program, which has produced nine national titles and 22 Big Ten championships.
Valdez joins the Illinois staff after 15 years of experience in the junior circuit coaching and competing against the greatest gymnasts in the world. The College Station, Texas-native comes to Illinois from USA Gymnastics World where he was the head coach and boy's program director in Utah. He has also been a part of such renowned programs over the last 15 years as Gold Cup Gymnastics in Albuquerque, Gymnast Factory and Brown's Gymnastics in Houston, Texas and the Las Vegas Flyers.
Among Valdez' accomplishments are coaching current Olympic team member Sean Townsend in 1996 to first place finishes on high bar at both the USA Championships and Junior Nationals. Current gymnast Linh Hoang was also under Valdez' tutelage placing first on rings at USA Championships that same year.
"Jon has a great deal of experience not only as a top level coach, but with the junior programs across the nation as well," Hayasaki said. "He will be a tremendous asset to this program with his extensive knowledge of technique and fundamentals and in recruiting after working with the top juniors at the elite level over the last 15 years.
Valdez' duties at Illinois will include directing the weight training program, and assisting Hayasaki with recruiting, overall skill refinement and routine composition.