Landrus Named Head Coach of Illinois Women's Gymnastics
May 6, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther has named Kim Landrus head coach of Illinois women's gymnastics, announced Friday. Landrus has spent nine years on the Fighting Illini coaching staff, joining the squad as an assistant coach in 2002. After four years as an assistant, she was promoted to associate head coach in 2006 and worked four years under the title before taking over as interim head coach for the 2010-11 season.
"I am pleased to announce Kim Landrus as our head women's gymnastics coach," Guenther said. "Kim has done an exceptional job as the interim head coach. She has had a positive impact on our women's gymnastics program since joining our staff in 2002."
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 and balance beam 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.
"It is truly an honor to be named the head coach at the University of Illinois," Landrus said. "Over the past nine years, I have developed a great love for the Illini and there is no where else that I would want to continue my career except here in Champaign. I bleed Orange and Blue and am excited to lead Illinois Gymnastics to greater heights."
Landrus has had much success during her nine-year tenure on the Illinois staff, playing a big role in Illinois' gradual rise to national prominence. She has helped lead the Illini to eight straight NCAA Regional appearances from 2004-11, and has made the Illini a regular in the weekly top-25 rankings. In the gym, she primarily coaches the balance beam, in addition to choreographing the beam routines, structuring day-to-day practices and monitoring the conditioning program for the gymnasts. Outside the gym, she serves as recruiting coordinator, playing a vital role in both on- and off-campus recruiting.
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. 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.
"I would like to thank athletic director, Ron Guenther, and our sport administrator, Kathy Hug, for providing me with a career opportunity of a lifetime," Landrus said. "The combination of a top notch academic institution combined with its athletic excellence, make the University of Illinois one of the premier institutions in the country. I couldn't be more proud that I will be a part of it for many years to come."
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.