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New coach getting results in first year

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 01:02


Delayne Ripplinger photo

Nadalie Walsh coaches a member of the gymnastics team during a home match Friday at the Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum.

Head coach Nadalie Walsh of the Utah State gymnastics team is leading her athletes to victory in her first year at the reigns. Hired on June 28, 2013, Walsh is only the third head coach in the history of the program.

Walsh has made significant differences in the way the program is being coached since her arrival in June.

"Positive energy and belief in our athletes is a big thing, just to come in and don't let any of them feel like they're not good enough,” Walsh said. “We invest in every one of them equally, and it's not about one athlete who may be used to be good. It's about making everybody good, and everybody has been stepping up to the plate with that."

The results of the coaching attitude have shown in the season statistics. The lowest team score for the season was posted at the first meet against Iowa, where the Aggies won with a 191.750.

USU has had six meets since then, scoring more than 194 points and recording a season-high score of 195.225 at a tri meet vs Air Force and Seattle Pacific. USU is currently 4-4 on the season and is back in Logan to take on three consecutive home meets. The Aggies are very optimistic about the season.

“I love Nadalie,” said freshman gymnast Bailey McIntire. “From what I’ve heard about the team before, we’ve improved so much. We just work harder, and we believe and trust each other more and she’s helped us do that. You don’t doubt someone who goes up to compete.”

Walsh came to USU from Ball State University in Indiana where she was the head coach for six years. Her team experienced success in her years as head coach, with six of her athletes making 10 appearances at the NCAA Regional Championships.

Walsh had never stepped foot in Utah until she arrived for her interview, but she is excited about being an Aggie and for the chance to take the program to the next level.

“I decided when I saw that the opportunity opened that it was definitely something new and interesting and exciting,” Walsh said. “I feel like there is such a rich culture of this school having such strong athletics, and they had a really great gymnastics program years ago, so I feel like that was a big draw for me because I know that I’m ambitious and I’ll do whatever it takes to try to get it back there.”

Before going to Ball State, Walsh coached at her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She spent two years as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach in 2004.

Walsh led the Titans to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association National Championship three times. UW-Oshkosh placed sixth in 2004, third in 2005 and took the championship title in 2007.

Walsh started taking gymnastics when she was 2 years old, and nothing has been able to pull her away since.

“I couldn’t stop doing it ever,” Walsh said. “All around the house and at the parks on the fields, anything my mom put me in, I would always just be doing gymnastics.”

Walsh performed all over the world when she was younger, and when she got into high school, she began to compete in more traditional level gymnastics.

She graduated and attended UW-Oshkosh and graduated with a degree in exercise science and fitness in 2000. She competed collegiately for four years at UW-Oshkosh. Her favorite event was floor because of all of the performance aspects involved.

Walsh and her husband Victor have three children and are excited about the opportunity to raise them in Logan as Aggies.

“It’s a wonderful place to raise a family,” Walsh said. “We’re very outdoorsy, so there’s so much to do in Utah and Logan. We’ve been able to focus on what’s important to us, which is family, so we have each other and we have all grown closer being out here together.”
Twitter: @emily_seamqueen 

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