Former University of Michigan gymnastics coach dies at age 92
posted on 06/29/2011

Newt Loken of Minneapolis, Minn., a college gymnastics coach for 36 years, died on June 28 at age 92 from age-related complications at a retirement home in Eugene, Ore., leaving behind a notable athletics legacy.

Loken was a member of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men's gymnastics team, and won the NCAA all-around gymnastics title in 1942 and the Big Ten Conference all-around title in 1941-42. Following after his athletic career, he spent nearly four decades as the coach of the University of Michigan gymnastics team (1948-83), winning two NCAA championships, 12 Big Ten titles, 71 Big Ten individual event winners and 21 NCAA individual event winners.

Several scholarships have been established at the University of Michigan to honor the contributions of Loken - the Newt Loken Scholarship to assist Michigan gymnasts, and the Newt Loken Cheerleading Scholarship Award.

Among the awards Loken received are: Michigan Hall of Honor, Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, the United States Savings-Helms Hall of Fame, Master of Sports Award, two-time national Coach of the Year, University of Minnesota Athletic Sports Hall of Fame, Honorary Member of University of Michigan Women's Athletics, and Spirit of Michigan Award. Loken was also a leader in the College Coaches Association and received its Honor Coach Award. "Life Magazine" featured him in the May 18, 1942, issue, and he has been described as the"gentleman of gymnastics."

The University of Michigan's men's gymnastics facility was extensively remodeled and named in his honor.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Ann, and four grown children, daughters Christine and Lani, and sons Jon and Newt. Information on services is not currently available.