Former Olympian Kip Simons Named Menís Gymnastics Coach
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -- Former Olympian Kip Simons has been named the new men's gymnastics coach at the Air Force Academy, athletic department officials announced today. Simons will replace Lou Burkel, who is retiring after 25 years of service to the Air Force Academy and collegiate gymnastics.
Simons joins the Academy after spending five seasons on the coaching staff for the Cal-Berkeley men's gymnastics program, including the last as the associate head coach.
"I am so excited about the opportunities that are ahead of me at the Air Force Academy," Simons said upon accepting the position. "As a first time head coach, I look forward to leading the team to the best of my ability - both on and off the court. After meeting the guys, I can see it in their eyes that they are eager to become excellent gymnasts, while they develop into responsible young men. "
He begins his first collegiate head coaching job following a stellar career at both the collegiate and national levels.
In 1988, Simons dominated the U.S. Junior National Championships and the Junior Pan-American Games, collecting 10 gold medals.
During a successful college career at Ohio State, Simons earned numerous honors throughout his four years, including the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Nissen-Emery Award, which is given to the nation's top senior gymnast.
Following his collegiate career, Simons competed on two world championship teams, as well as the gold-medal winning team at the Pan-American Games. He also represented the U.S. at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.
"We're extremely excited to welcome a person of the caliber of Kip Simons onto the Air Force team," Deputy Athletic Director, Col Billy Walker, said. "He impressed us with his enthusiasm and excitement, as well as his clear hunger to take our program to the next level. With his experience as a world-class competitor, as well as an accomplished coach, we're expecting great things from our program."
"We're certainly going to miss Coach Lou Burkel as he retires after 25 years at the helm of our program," Walker continued. "He leaves behind an impressive legacy of integrity and accomplishment -- one for which he should take great pride. He and his wife, Sandy, will always be part of the Athletic Department family."
Simons tenure at the Academy will begin on July 18, 2005.
SIMONS' CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
1996 Still Rings National Champion
Two-time World team member
1995 Pan-American (gold medal) team member
1994 Goodwill Games (gold medal) team member
1994 Nissen-Emery Award winner
Two-time NCAA All-American
Three-time Big Ten individual champion
1991 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
1988 Junior Pan-Am champion
Five-time Junior Olympics gold medalist
Four-time letterwinner at Ohio State