By Kristin Keirns – WMU Athletics
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- One of the most decorated gymnasts in Arkansas history, Casey Jo Magee has joined Dave Kuzara’s coaching staff at Western Michigan and will serve as an assistant for the Broncos during the 2012 season. Magee competed collegiately at Arkansas, where Kuzara was an assistant on the Razorback staff from 2007-09. Currently a senior international elite gymnast, Magee will continue her own training while in Kalamazoo with hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. National Team.
“I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity I’ve been given to be here at Western Michigan to work with this team,” Magee said. “I am really looking forward to working with Dave again and increasing my knowledge of the sport. I really admire what he’s done with this program since he arrived and am very eager to learn all he has to offer about running a Division I gymnastics program. I’m confident my experience and passion will have a positive influence on this team and help them reach the goals they’ve set.”
Magee totaled eight All-American nods at Arkansas, including four as a first-teamer as a senior in 2010 on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and in the all-around. She recorded the highest finish ever by a Razorback at the NCAA Championships, placing second in the nation in the all-around with a 39.550, while recording top five finishes on the beam and bars. Magee won the individual title on the beam in the NCAA West Regional and was a semifinal winner on bars, beam and in the all-around.
Magee earned Second Team All-American status on vault and floor as a junior and on vault and bars as a sophomore. She also won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship on the beam, and NCAA South Central Regional titles on beam and floor, finishing second in the all-around, as a junior.
Over her career, Magee won 71 individual event titles, and led Arkansas to a fifth-place national finish in 2009 and a No. 11 finish in 2010. She holds the school record with a 39.675 in the all-around, and is tied for the school record on beam and floor with a 9.95 in each. A two-time First Team All-SEC and four-time Academic All-SEC honoree, she twice was named the team’s Most Outstanding Gymnast.
Following her collegiate career, Magee was a student-assistant on the Razorback coaching staff in 2011, helping Arkansas to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Magee also entered senior international elite status, having qualified and competed at the American Classic, U.S. Covergirl Classic and Visa Championships. The Visa Championships is the premier annual championships for USA Gymnastics and helps determine the U.S. National Team roster. Members of the National Team then compete for spots on the Olympic Team headed to London in 2012. Magee will again train for the Visa Championships, to be held in St. Louis this summer, as an all-arounder.
“That experience as student-assistant at Arkansas last year, coupled with the fact that she is an international elite athlete makes her a valuable resource as our gymnastics program continues to grow,” said third-year Bronco head coach Dave Kuzara. “Casey will be utilized on every event and her influence will certainly help Western Michigan achieve its goal of competing at NCAA Regionals.
“Her own personal goal of becoming a National Team member and competing at Olympic Trials for the chance to be on the 2012 Olympic Team are well within reach,” Kuzara added. “She is uniquely talented and continues to learn new skills, upgrading her routine on bars, which will enable her to compete internationally.”
Western Michigan begins it 2012 season with back-to-back home meets, hosting Centenary Jan. 6 and Mid-American Conference foe Kent State Jan. 15. The Broncos are home for four of their first five meets.