Former Pittsburgh and Iowa State assistant coach Jess Santos is now in her third year as a volunteer assistant coach at Illinois. Her duties with the Illini include coordinating floor music and choreography along with assisting on vault and floor in the gym.
Santos's impact on floor was on full display in 2013. On Senior Day on March 10, the Illini posted a season high 49.425, which was the fourth highest team score in school history on the event. Illinois finished with a national rank of 13 on floor with a RQS of 49.235. In addition, the Orange and Blue walked away with nine individual floor titles in 2013. Also Amber See ranked 20th on floor while Alina Weinstein ranked fourth in the country. Weinstein ended the year as a First-Team All-American on floor as she qualified for the floor finals at the NCAA Championships. Finally, Santos' coaching on vault could not be overlooked, as Weinstein recorded the first perfect 10.0 on vault in Illini history.
In her first year at Iowa State Santos' beam squad was ranked as high as No. 8 nationally and Ashley Kent was the ninth-ranked beam worker in the country for a period of time. Kent went on to place sixth and seventh at the Big 12 Championship and NCAA West Regional, respectively. Santos' first season also saw the Cyclones earn their highest team score (196.225) and team national ranking (No. 13) since 2007.
Santos joined Iowa State after a three-year (2006-09) stint at Pittsburgh where she was named the 2007 NCAA Northeast Regional Co-Assistant Coach of the Year. She focused on vault and floor at Pitt and oversaw Dani Bryan, who won the league vault crown in 2007. Santos had four other gymnasts earn all-league recognition on vault during her tenure at Pittsburgh. Santos was additionally the co-recruiting coordinator for the Panthers.
Before joining the Pittsburgh staff, Santos was a volunteer assistant at her alma mater, West Virginia (2005-06). In one season coaching for the Mountaineers, she saw WVU take third in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) and place fifth at the NCAA Southeast Regional competition.
While competing at West Virginia, Santos put together the third-highest all-around score (39.625) in program history. Additionally, she was a first-team All-EAGL honoree in the all-around and on bars in 2005. In 2004, she tied for the league vault crown and was a second-team all-league recipient in the all-around and vault. Santos is the last Mountaineer to score a 10.0, a feat she accomplished on vault in 2004.