Justin Spring was named head coach of the Illinois men's gymnastics team.
Dec. 15, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther has named Justin Spring head coach of Illinois men's gymnastics, announced Wednesday. Spring is entering his fifth season overall on the coaching staff, after spending one year as an associate head coach and three years as an assistant coach under 33-year veteran Yoshi Hayasaki.
"It's truly an honor to take over a program I grew to love so much as a student-athlete," Spring said. "My passion for the program has only increased and I look forward to doing the best I can to make this program as successful as possible."
In one season as associate head coach from 2009-10, Spring led Illinois to its second-straight Big Ten team title and a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Individually, five Illini earned All-America accolades, three took home Big Ten titles and Luke Stannard became just the third Illini to win the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top senior male gymnast.
Additionally, Spring helped guide Illinois to a 22-5 overall record and the top spot in the rankings on four separate occasions and never dropped out of the top five. For his efforts, Spring was honored as both Central Region Coach of the Year and Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Prior to taking over the reigns from Hayasaki in 2009, Spring served as an assistant coach for three seasons at Illinois while also training as a member of the U.S. National Team. In 2008, Spring achieved a life-long goal by competing for his country at the Beijing Olympics and helped lead the U.S. to a team bronze medal. He later retired from competitive gymnastics to focus solely on coaching.
As a member of the Illini men's gymnastics team from 2003-06, Spring boasts one of the most decorated careers in program history. The Burke, Va., native was a four-time NCAA Champion, 12-time All-American and won the Nissen-Emery Award in 2006. He's also achieved much success at the national and international levels. In addition to the Olympic Bronze, Spring is an eight-time U.S. National team member and three-time U.S. Champion.
Spring is a 2006 Illinois graduate with a bachelor's degree in speech communication and in addition to his coaching duties, is currently pursuing his master's in recreation, sport and tourism.