Illinois scores an impressive 196.125 to take home the Victory Plank
Blend of youth and experience starts Illini ranked No. 18 in preseason poll
Season in Review
Illinois Hosts First-Ever Regional Saturday at 4 p.m. at Assembly Hall
Illini and Hawkeyes Square Off Saturday at 5 p.m.
Illini Women's Gym pictures from the Pink Meet vs. Iowa on Jan. 31 inside Huff Hall.
Illini women's gymnastics team competed at the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles, California.
Jay Santos enters his third season as Associate Head Coach and fourth year overall at Illinois. Santos, who now owns 13 years experience of coaching and competing at the Division I level, came to Illinois in 2010 following a four-year stint with Iowa State. In the gym, he serves as the head bars coach while assisting and spotting on the other events. He also has an integral role in on - and off-campus recruiting, along with overseeing all equipment-related matters.
In 2013, Santos mentored senior Alina Weinstein to three bars titles while coaching first-year letterwinner Sunny Kato to two bars titles. On Feb. 16 vs. Iowa, the Illini scored the fourth highest bars score in program history with a 49.250. The Orange and Blue ranked No. 20 nationally in the event, as both Weinstein and Kato finished in the Top-50. In addition, the Illini scored a 49.025 on bars at the Big Ten Championships along their way to their season high score of 196.475 and their fourth place finish.
In 2012, Santos guided junior Alina Weinstein and senior Kelsey Joannides to top-25 national rankings in the all-around. All together, Santos coached five different Illini to uneven bar titles for a total of 10 individual bars titles, which ranked as the second most for an event on the team. The highest bars score of the season by the team came at the Big Ten Championships when the Orange and Blue tallied a 49.100.
In his first season at Illinois, the Illini notched their highest final ranking in school history, as they concluded the season No. 11 in the country following the squad's second-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships. After arriving in Champaign in the midst of preseason training, Santos made an immediate impact on the Orange and Blue. Santos' bar team tallied two of the top-10 scores in school history while two gymnasts placed in the top three on the event at the Big Ten Championships under his guidance. The Illini also broke the school record for team score in his first year on staff.
At Iowa State, Santos served as the recruiting coordinator and bars coach for the Cyclones. He helped guide the Cyclones to four-consecutive NCAA Regional appearances, a co-runner up finish at the 2007 Central Regional and second-place showing at the 2008 Big 12 Championships. Santos tutored two Big 12 bar champions and six top-four conference finishers on the apparatus during his tenure at Iowa State.
Before his arrival in Ames, Santos spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State. While at OSU, he coached bars and floor and was a major factor in recruiting. He also coached five Buckeyes to All-Big Ten honors.
Prior to Ohio State, Santos spent eight years coaching at Somersault Gymnastics Center in Stoughton, Mass., serving as the women's team director and head coach for his last four years. At Somersault Gymnastics, he was responsible for all facets of the women's program and produced several Junior Olympic national and regional qualifiers, and many state champions. Santos served as a nationally rated men's gymnastics judge from 1997-2001, working numerous college dual meets as well as Junior Olympic state and regional championships.
Santos graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1995, earning a business degree in operations management. He competed for the men's gymnastics team for four seasons and during his stay at UMass the Minutemen won the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) team championship in 1995, and the New England regional championship from 1992-95. Individually, Santos was a three-time co-captain for UMass.
THE SANTOS FILE
Education: University of Massachusetts
Bachelor of Business Administration in Operations Management, 1995
Associate Head Coach, University of Illinois - 2011-present
Visiting Assistant Coach, University of Illinois - 2010-2011
Assistant Coach, Iowa State University - 2006-2010
Assistant Coach, Ohio State University - 2004-2006
Women's Team Director and Head Coach, Somersault Gymnastics Center - 2001-2004
Women's and Men's Team Assistant Coach, Somersault Gymnastics Center - 1996-2001