Fighting Illini Athletics added several members to the family recently, as the early National Letter of Intent signing period started on Nov. 13.
Basketball, Gymnastics Standouts Take Home Prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor
Weinstein tied for first on floor with a 9.9
Illinois finishes second in Regionals with a 196.025
Senior earns 1st Team on Floor & 2nd Team on All-Around
Illini women's gymnastics team competed at the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles, California.
Kim Landrus enters her third year as head coach for the Illini and 12th overall year coaching. Landrus started out as assistant coach in 2006 before being promoted to associate head coach from 2006-10. In the gym, she primarily coaches the balance beam, in addition to choreographing the beam routines and structuring day-to-day practices. Outside the gym, she serves as recruiting coordinator, playing a vital role in both on- and off-campus recruiting.
Landrus' second year as head coach marked one of the best seasons in Illini women's gymnastics history as the Orange and Blue qualified for their third NCAA Championships in the past five years. In addition, Illinois tied a program high with a No. 11 final national ranking, finishing the season in the Top-25 for the eighth year in a row. Under Landrus' tutelage, senior Alina Weinstein thrived in her senior season, earning First-Team All-American on floor, winning three regional titles, etching her name in the Illini record books with the best all-around, floor and vault scores in program history, advancing to the floor finals at the NCAA Championships and a Honda award finalist. Also, it was Landrus' signature event, the balance beam, that launched the Illini to Nationals. On their final rotation at the Morgantown Regional, the Orange and Blue recorded a 49.175 on beam and edged out Big Ten Champion Nebraska to take second place. Furthermore, Landrus coached four gymnasts to All-Big Ten honors, inlcuding Giana O'Connor who also won Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice in 2013. Finally, the team soared at the Big Ten Championships, finishing first in sesssion, fourth overall, with a season high 196.475, the sixth highest score ever recorded in Illini history.
In her first season as head coach, Landrus inspired the Illini to a No. 18 national ranking. The Orange and Blue finished fifth in the Big Ten with senior Kelsey Joannides winning her second career Big Ten title, tying for first on beam with a score of 9.900. Illinois, which hosted its first-ever regional at the Assembly Hall, placed in the top three at the regional meet for the fifth year in a row after never finishing above fourth before 2008. Junior Alina Weinstein, who also won the NCAA regional on beam, earned a trip to the NCAA Championships after winning the all-around title at the NCAA Champaign Regional with a career-high score of 39.450. Weinstein became the second gymnast in Illinois history to become a NCAA regional champ. Furthermore, it was the fifth year in a row, Illinois was represented at the NCAA National Championships and Weinstein was the 10th individual NCAA National qualifier in program history. In addition, Landrus coached three gymnasts to All Big Ten awards as Joannides was named to the first team while Weinstein and Amber See garnered second-team All-Big Ten honors.
In her first season as interim head coach, Landrus led Illinois to its highest national ranking in school history, as the Illini wrapped up the year ranked No. 11 following their second-ever appearance at the NCAA Championships. The Orange and Blue matched their highest regional finish ever, tying for second at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, and placed third at the Big Ten Championships, reaching the podium for the fourth time in five years. The Illini also broke the school record for team score (196.975) and balance beam (49.375) during the 2011 season.
Individually, six Illini garnered All-America honors with Landrus at the helm, marking the most accolades in a single season in school history. Senior Melissa Fernandez turned in the best individual season in school history, picking up three All-America honors and twice earned a spot on the awards podium at the national meet. The Illini also boasted three All-Big Ten selections and a freshman Big Ten champion on vault in Amber See.
In 2010, Landrus helped the Illini finish in the Top 25 for the fifth-consecutive year with a No. 16 final national ranking. Her beam team ranked among the top 10 in the nation and turned in four of the top-10 beam scores in school history, including tying the second-best mark of 49.175. The Illini took third at the NCAA Central Regional and boasted two individual national qualifiers in Sarah Schmidt (all-around) and Allison Buckley, who became just the second first-team All-American in school history with her performance on vault. The Orange and Blue also led the conference with four All-Big Ten selections, with Buckley, Schmidt and Fernandez on the first team and Nicole Cowart on the second team.
In 2009, Landrus played a big part in leading Illinois to one of its best seasons in school history. She was named co-National Assistant Coach of the Year by the NACGC after guiding the Illini to their first-ever NCAA Championship appearance. The Illini finished the season ranked 12th in the nation, the program's highest ever final ranking, and produced two All-Americans in the same season for the first time in school history. The Orange and Blue also took runner-up finishes at the Big Ten Championships and NCAA West Regional. In addition, Landrus helped the 2009 Illini put up four of the top six team scores in Illinois history.
Landrus' 2009 beam squad was among the nation's elite, ranking in the top 15 nationally all season while re-writing the school record book. She helped Melissa Fernandez earn first-team All-America honors on the balance beam, Illinois' first NCAA first-team All-American, giving the Illini a beam All-American in two straight seasons for the first time ever. Landrus also guided the Illini to the top-three beam scores in school history, including the school record score of 49.200 at the NCAA West Regional, and coached Allison Buckley to the 2009 West Regional Beam title with an individual school record-tying 9.950, making her Illinois' first regional champion on the event in over 30 years.
Landrus has had much success during her ten-year tenure on the Illinois staff, playing a big role in Illinois' gradual rise to national prominence. She has helped lead the Illini to nine straight NCAA Regional appearances from 2004-12, and has made the Illini a regular in the weekly top-25 polls, peaking at No. 11 heading into the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Championships.
Since Landrus' arrival, the Illini beam squads have recorded the top eight scores in school history. In addition, Fernandez became the first Illini to twice advance to the NCAA individual event finals and notched the best individual finish in school history, tying for fifth on beam in 2011. She has coached two Big Ten Balance Beam Champions in Kelsey Joannides (2012) and Julie Crall (2008). Additionally, Allison Buckley became a second-team All-American on beam in 2008 under Landrus' tutelage, marking the program's first All-American at the NCAA Championships.
Landrus garnered the NCAA South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2005, and helped qualify two University of Illinois individuals to the NCAA Championships in both 2004, 2008 and 2010, something that hadn't been done at Illinois since 1987.
Prior to coming to Illinois for the 2002-03 season, Landrus spent two years as an assistant coach for Iowa State University. At ISU, her beam team finished in the top 10 nationally in 2002 with a season-high ranking of fourth. Before her coaching career, Landrus was one of the most decorated gymnasts in Cyclone history. She was ISU's first-ever national qualifier in 1997, a two-time All Big XII Conference pick, the school's Most Valuable Gymnast in 1996 and `97, and she recorded the first 10.0 in school history with a perfect performance on the floor exercise at the 1997 Big XII Championships. The four-year letterwinner was named ISU's Woman Athlete of the Year in 1997.
In addition to her stellar athletic career, Landrus also excelled in the classroom. She was a four-time Academic All-Conference selection, a two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American and was in the top two percent of her class when she earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance in 1997. Landrus received the Big XII Postgraduate Scholarship and the NCAA Women's Enhancement Program Postgraduate Scholarship after earning her undergraduate degree.
From 1998-2000, Landrus earned an MBA degree, while serving as a graduate assistant in compliance for the university. She also was the Iowa State gymnastics meet director, and coached at Cardinal Gymnastics Academy in Ames, Iowa. She completed her master's degree in business administration in May 2000.
Landrus and her husband Steve reside in Champaign and have one son, Zachary Steven (four years) and one daughter, Madelyn Ann (newborn).
The Landrus File
Maiden Name: Mazza
Education: Iowa State University
Bachelor of Science in Finance, 1997
Master's in Business Administration, 2000
Family: Husband: Steve, Son: Zachary, Daughter: Madelyn
Head Coach, University of Illinois - 2011-present
Interim Head Coach, University of Illinois - 2010-2011
Associate Head Coach, University of Illinois - 2006-2010
Assistant Coach, University of Illinois - 2002-2006
Assistant Coach, Iowa State University - 2000-2002
Coach, Cardinal Gymnastics Academy (Ames, Iowa) - 1998-2002
COACHING HONORS, EVENT RECORDS, EVENT CHAMPIONS
National Assistant Coach of the Year - 2009
South Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year - 2005
Team Score School Record - 196.975 (at State of Illinois Classic, 2011)
All-Around School Record - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 39.625, 2013)
Vault School Record - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 10.0, 2013)
Beam School Record - Team (49.375, at State of Illinois Classic, 2011)
Beam School Record - Individual (Allison Buckley, 9.95, 2009)
Floor Score School Record - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 9.975, 2013)
Big Ten Beam Champion - Individual (Kelsey Joannides, 2012 ; Julie Crall, 2008)
NCAA Regional All-Around Champion - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 2012, 2013)
NCAA Regional Beam Champion - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 2012, 2013 ; Allison Buckley, 2009)
NCAA Regional Floor Champion - Individual (Alina Weinstein, 2013)
Floor All-American - Alina Weinstein, 2013 First Team
All-Around All-American - Melissa Fernandez, 2011 First Team
Beam All-American - Melissa Fernandez, 2011 First Team
Vault All-American - Kelsey Joannides, 2011 Second Team
Floor Exercise All-American - Alina Weinstein, 2011 Second Team
Beam All-American - Melissa Fernandez, 2009 First Team
Beam All-American - Allison Buckley, 2008 Second Team
NAACGC/W Regular Season ALL-AMERICANS: 2
Floor All-American - Alina Weinstein, 2013 First Team
All-Around All-American - Alina Weinstein, 2013 Second Team
Honda Award Finalists: 1
Alina Weinstein, 2013