Jim Gault, who served as the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of Arizona from 1980-98, died earlier this week in Leesville, S.C. Services were held this morning, at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens.
Gault, 77, was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1992. He started Diablo Gymnastics, which he ran for 14 years in San Ramon, Calif., where he coached Diane Dunbar who competed in the 1974 World Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, and the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Mexico, where the U.S. women won the team title and Dunbar also earned the uneven bars bronze medal. Gault also served as the coach at the World University Games and the Maccabiah Games, as well as with U.S. teams that competed in England, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Germany and Yugoslavia. He most recently was on the staff at Midlands Elite Gymnastics Academy in Gilbert, S.C., which hosts an invitational named in his honor.
Gault was the man responsible for the growth of Arizona's gymnastics program, compiling a record of 344-153-1. He coached his teams to the NCAA Championships eight times, finishing as high as fifth during his tenure. He was voted Pac-10 Women's Gymnastics Coach of the Year five times, coached two NCAA individual event champions, more than 30 All-Americans, two members of World University Games teams, nine Pac-10 individual event champions, one Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year and one AAI American Award winner.
He was the founder of the United States Gymnastics Elite Association and a member of the NCAA Women Gymnastics Committee. Gault also was a member of the Hall of Fame for the University of Arizona (2003) and the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles (1992). Born in Los Angeles, he earned a degree in physical education at San Jose State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and was the Spartans' mascot.
Gault is survived by his wife, Armonia, and three children. Memorials may be made to Mayo Clinic Children's Cancer Foundation, c/o Development Office, 200 1st Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.
Information is based on pieces done by the University of Arizona, Dr. Larry Banner, MEGA and legacy.com.