The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Arkansas hires Jordyn Wieber as gymnastics head coach

30 days ago
Arkansas Athletics
Photo: Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Olympic gold medalist and UCLA assistant Jordyn Wieber has been named as the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of Arkansas, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek announced on Wednesday. Wieber replaces Mark Cook, who announced his retirement as head coach, earlier this month, after 17 seasons at the University of Arkansas.

Wieber is a familiar name in the gymnastics community after a prolific career as a competitor, including earning a gold medal as part of Team USA in the 2012 Olympics. Since finishing her competitive career, Wieber has served as an assistant for legendary UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field, helping lead the Bruins to the 2018 NCAA Championship. Beyond the gym, Wieber has served as an outspoken advocate for victims of child sexual abuse. Wieber has used the platform of gymnastics to encourage and inspire generations of young girls and others around the nation.

"The journey of Jordyn Wieber is truly extraordinary," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. "As one of the world's elite gymnasts and an assistant at one of the top collegiate programs in the country, she has already experienced more than many of us will in a lifetime. She has a maturity beyond her years and her experiences at the highest level of gymnastics will be a tremendous asset to the young women in our program. Jordyn has a great energy and passion, is an accomplished communicator and a demonstrated leader.

"It was clear from the beginning of this process, that Jordyn had a definitive plan to take our program to an elite level and wanted to be the head coach at the University of Arkansas. For the past 17 years, Mark Cook built the Razorback gymnastics program from the ground up. I am confident that Jordyn will not only build on that foundation but will also serve as a recognizable face for our program and for the sport of gymnastics."

Wieber recently wrapped up her third season as a volunteer assistant coach at UCLA and her sixth with the program, assisting the team in a variety of roles during her first three years in Westwood following her Olympic career.

Wieber coached the Bruins on floor exercise, an event in which UCLA finished the 2018 and 2019 regular seasons ranked No. 1 in the nation. In 2019, the Bruins recorded scores of 49.5 or better in 11 of 14 meets, averaging a national-best 49.604 on floor. UCLA hit a season-high 49.825 on March 16, which ranks No. 3 all-time in school history, behind five scores of 9.925 or better in that meet, including two perfect 10s. The floor squad also posted marks of 49.775 (March 23) and 49.750 (Feb. 16) over the course of the year, as four Bruins earned regular season All-America honors in the event - Katelyn Ohashi, Kyla Ross, Gracie Kramer and Felicia Hano.

The 2018 Bruins scored 49.4 or higher in 11 meets and 49.6 or higher in three meets, including a national season-high of 49.775 set Feb. 25. She and her fellow UCLA coaches were named the 2018 West Region Assistant Coaches of the Year, as they helped lead the Bruins to Pac-12, NCAA regional and NCAA national titles.

"I am honored to be joining the Razorback Family as the head gymnastics coach at the University of Arkansas," Wieber said. "Throughout my life, gymnastics has provided me some extraordinary opportunities, from traveling the world and competing for my country at the Olympics to coaching alongside one of the legends of our sport at UCLA. Those experiences have been invaluable to my growth personally and professionally while also preparing me for this role. I am appreciative to Hunter Yurachek for affording me the opportunity to lead a nationally recognized gymnastics program within the Southeastern Conference. I am excited about the future of Razorback Gymnastics and am looking forward to working together with our student-athletes to compete at the highest level of collegiate gymnastics."

At the NCAA Championships on April 19-20, Wieber coached Ross to the individual floor title with a score of 9.950, the program's second in as many years after Ohashi took home the crown in 2018. After winning their semifinal session with a 197.650 (49.6125 in the floor), UCLA finished third overall in the finals.

Wieber, who has been a vocal advocate for safe sport, has won several awards in the past year, including the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, the Rising Star Award by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and the Giant Steps A Hero Among Us Award.

A member of the "Fierce Five" United States squad that won team gold at the 2012 Olympics, Wieber was a two-time U.S. all-around champion (2011 and 2012) and the 2011 World all-around champion. Her illustrious Elite Career included three medals (all-around and team gold, beam bronze) at the 2011 World Championships, four U.S. senior national titles (all-around, bars and floor in 2011 and all-around in 2012). She was also the 2008 U.S. junior all-around, vault and floor exercise champion and the American Cup all-around champion in 2009, 2011 and 2012. She dominated the competition at the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships, winning four gold medals (all-around, uneven bars, floor exercise, team) and one silver (vault). In her first international competition at the 2007 Junior Pan American Championships, she won gold medals on uneven bars and balance beam, silver in the all-around and bronze on floor exercise. Wieber officially retired from competitive gymnastics in 2015.

Wieber, from DeWitt, Mich., graduated from UCLA in 2017 with a degree in Psychology. She was a 2016 inductee into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame and is also a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

About Jordyn Wieber...

"I've known Jordyn Wieber for the past eight years, through her victory as a USA Gymnastic World Champion, USA Olympic Champion and UCLA NCAA Champion Coach. Her dedication to the integrity of the process of becoming and developing champions in life through the sport of gymnastics is on par with some of the greatest leaders I've ever met. She has proven over and over how to achieve greatness through thorough & healthy preparation and commitment to every detail. Jordyn Wieber is simply one of the most impressive people I have ever had the honor and privilege to work with."

Valorie Kondos Field - Former UCLA Gymnastics Head Coach

"The first time I met Jordyn, I asked for her autograph. I was a fan. A few years later we became teammates on the US National Team. We bonded immediately. Jordyn has always been a supportive friend and teammate. She is a leader. I always knew she would go on to accomplish great things. I could not be more proud of her. I am excited to cheer her on in this next chapter of her life. I wish her and the Arkansas Gymnastics family the best of luck. I can't wait to see what the coming years have in store."

Aly Raisman - Teammate on 2012 "Fierce Five" U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

"Jordyn Wieber is a highly motivated coach of tremendous character and integrity. She is eager to learn and recognizes each day as an opportunity to do so. She subscribes to the philosophy of coaching the individual before the athlete. She brings a work ethic, knowledge, background and focus to teaching that no other gymnastics coach in the country can claim considering she is a World, Olympic and NCAA Champion.

"As a leader of young women, Jordyn will steward the Arkansas gymnastics program with a commitment to developing strong, respectable and high achieving student-athletes that will represent the university in the gym, the classroom and in the community with class and commitment to excellence, just as she has exhibited in everything she has done in her own life."

Bobby Field - Former Arkansas football standout and UCLA Administrator