Amy Kruse is in her fifth year as an assistant coach at Illinois, serving as the Illini vault and floor exercise coach. In addition, Kruse is responsible for floor choreography and music selection and also coordinates and supervises the strength and conditioning program for the team. Outside the gym, Kruse handles Illinois' alumni relations and is a dynamic recruiter, playing a crucial role in talent evaluation as well as on and off-campus recruiting. She also became the South Central Region Score Verification Coordinator in 2010. In total, six of Illinois' 11 all-time All-Americans have come on events coached by Kruse.
During the 2011 season, three Illini garnered second-team All-America honors on floor, the first time Illinois boasted multiple All-Americans on an event, and junior Kelsey Joannides added an All-America accolade on vault under Kruse's guidance at the NCAA Championships. As a team, the Orange and Blue posted 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 nationals. Kruse also coached the Illini's second freshman Big Ten Vault Champion since 2009 in Amber See, as the Illini reached the podium for the fourth time in five years at the conference meet with a third-place finish. Four of the program's top-seven vault scores and two of the top-six floor scores were tallied under Kruse in 2011.
In 2010, Kruse coached Illinois' first-ever All-American on vault, as Allison Buckley became the program's second gymnast to earn first-team All-American honors. Buckley also tied for the regional crown on vault at the NCAA Central Regional, where the Illini took third as a team. Under her guidance, Sarah Schmidt won the floor title at every Big Ten dual meet during the regular season, tied the school record on floor with a 9.950 and qualified to the NCAA Championships as an individual all-arounder. Her floor team also matched the second-best score in school history with a 49.450 at the State of Illinois Classic. With Kruse's assistance, the Orange and Blue finished in the Top 25 for the fifth-consecutive year with a No. 16 final national ranking and ranked No. 11 in the nation on floor and No. 18 on vault. The Orange and Blue also led the conference with four All-Big Ten selections, with Buckley, Schmidt and Melissa Fernandez on the first team and Nicole Cowart on the second team.
In 2009, Kruse was instrumental in leading the Fighting Illini to their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships where they finished 12th. For her efforts, Kruse was awarded the 2009 NACGC National Assistant Coach of the Year award along with Illini Associate Head Coach Kim Landrus. Kruse helped the Illini to their second consecutive second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, as well as their sixth consecutive regional appearance, where they finished second at the NCAA West Regional, the highest finish in school history. In addition, the 2009 Illini tallied four of the top six team scores in school history.
Kruse has orchestrated an attack on the Illini record books since her arrival prior to the 2007 season. Kruse's vault team set or broke the school record four times in 2009 alone, and holds the current school record at 49.375. She also produced the individual school record holder on vault (Marijka Botterman, 9.950), as well as the 2009 and 2011 Big Ten Vault Champion (Kelsey Joannides, 9.925 & Amber See, 9.900). Overall, the top 11 vault team scores, as well as eight of the top-10 individual vault scores, in Illinois history have been recorded during Kruse's time at Illinois.
School records on floor exercise also fell with regularity in 2009 under Kruse's leadership. She led Illinois to a school record-breaking performance on floor at the Big Ten Championships, where they tallied a 49.500, which is the highest-ever score for any event at any time in school history. Kruse also helped produce the individual school record on floor exercise in 2009, as Sarah Schmidt scored a 9.950 at the Big Ten Championships to become the 2009 Conference Floor Champion. Schmidt was also a 2009 floor exercise second-team All-American under the tutelage of Kruse.
In 2008, Kruse was named the NCAA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year after guiding the Illini to a final national ranking of No. 15 and sending two individuals to compete at the NCAA Championships. She also played a vital role in leading the Illini to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, the highest finish in a conference championship meet since 1990.
Kruse came to Illinois from Phoenix Gymnastics Academy (PGA) where she coached all levels, with her main focus on balance beam and floor. Prior to PGA, Kruse worked as a volunteer assistant coach and undergraduate assistant coach at the University of Nebraska, and also coached at the club level at the Nebraska School of Gymnastics from 2001-03, assisting on all events.
Kruse, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., was a four-year letter winner at the University of Nebraska from 1998-2001. She was an All-American on floor exercise and Nebraska's Most Improved Gymnast in 2000. Throughout her memorable four-year career, Amy (Ringo) Kruse helped the Huskers advance to the Super Six team finals three times while earning career highs of 39.25 in all-around, 9.85 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.925 on beam, and a 9.95 on floor. She was a member of the Commissioner's Honor Roll and was named to the Academic All-Big XII. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasizing in graphic design from Nebraska in 2002.
Kruse resides in Champaign with her husband, Colby, daughters Jayda (six years), and Londyn (four years), and son Ryder (two years).
Coaching Honors and Event Records
National Assistant Coach of the Year - 2009
South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year - 2008
Vault School Record - Team (49.375, at Big 10 Championships, 2009)
Vault School Record - Individual (Marijka Botterman, 9.95, 2009)
Floor Exercise School Record - Team (49.50, at Big 10 Championships, 2009)
Floor Exercise School Record - Individual (Sarah Schmidt, 9.95, 2009)
Big Ten Vault Champion - Individual (Kelsey Joannides, 2009)
Big Ten Vault Champion - Individual (Amber See, 2011)
Big Ten Floor Champion - Individual (Sarah Schmidt, 2009)
Vault All-American - Allison Buckley, 2010 First Team
Vault All-American - Kelsey Joannides, 2011 Second Team
Floor Exercise All-American - Sarah Schmidt, 2009 Second Team
Floor Exercise All-American - Allison Buckley, 2011 Second Team
Floor Exercise All-American - Melissa Fernandez, 2011 Second Team
Floor Exercise All-American - Alina Weinstein, 2011 Second Team
Maiden Name: Ringo
Birthplace: Phoenix, Ariz.
Education: University of Nebraska, 2002, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Family: Husband: Colby; Daughters: Jayda and Londyn; Son: Ryder
Updated May 2011