Photograph: Tabitha Yim/Instagram
Stanford University has appointed former Cardinal star Tabitha Yim as the new head coach of the women’s gymnastics programme. The call came about twenty days after former head coach Kristen Smyth, who spent sixteen years at Stanford, announced her decision to step down from her position.
Yim competed for Stanford as a college-athlete from 2005 to 2008. She is the most decorated Cardinal in history, with 14 All-America honours and placing in the top 10 in the NCAA all around competition all four years. Yim also twice won Pac-12 and NCAA Regional all around titles, and was named Pac-12 and Regional Gymnast of the Year in her senior season.
Prior to joining Stanford in 2004, Yim was a member of the U.S. national gymnastics team. She was a member of the U.S. team that won bronze at the 2001 World championships, as well as U.S. champion on floor in 2001 and on beam in 2002. In 2004 she competed also at the U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing fourth in the all around.
After graduating in human biology from Stanford in 2008, Yim spent two years teaching in school. She then moved back to gymnastics as a coach, first as an assistant coach at Stanford from 2011 to 2015, and then as head coach at Arizona in 2016 and 2017.
During her years at Stanford as an assistant coach, she helped the team achieve its two highest scores in NCAA Championship history, a 197.500 at the 2012 Super Six and a 197.250 at the 2015 Super Six.
‘I want to thank [Director of Athletics] Bernard Muir and the staff at Stanford for this opportunity’, said Yim, gostanford.com reports. ‘I am thrilled to be returning home to The Farm, and am passionate about carrying on the amazing legacy of this program and university.
‘I had an incredible scholar-athlete experience at Stanford shaped by the coaches, faculty, and staff who were committed to my development as a student, athlete and person. I will forever remain thankful for the support of John Court, David McCreary and the Arizona staff, and I am grateful to Bernard and the Stanford family for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this program towards continued success.’
Bernard Muir also had words of praise for Yim: ‘I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Tabitha back to The Farm. Her credentials as a gymnast and a coach speak for themselves, and I know she’s ready to help our student-athletes reach their full potential in the gym, in the classroom, and in their lives beyond campus.’
Stanford had a disappointing 2017 season, marred by a lot of injuries, and ended only twenty-eighth in the national ranking. The Cardinals’ future, however, looks bright. They are welcoming seven new talented freshmen for the 2018 season, and they are hoping to have their star Elizabeth Price back to full form for her senior year.
Article by Talitha Ilacqua
(A previous version of this article was published on WOGymnastika).