CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fighting Illini men’s gymnastics head coach Justin Spring was named National Coach of the Year after leading the Orange and Blue to their 10th NCAA title and first since 1989, while assistant coaches Ivan Ivankov and Daniel Ribeiro earned National Assistant Coach of the Year honors. Spring, who is 28 years old, is the youngest coach to garner the title in NCAA history.
"The coaching award is deserving for this staff as a whole," Spring said. "It’s really a collective effort. My assistant coaches and I format team decisions together. I’m very honored because these guys put in so many hours, and it’s great to see them get the recognition they deserve."
Under Spring’s direction, Illinois also took home its fourth straight Big Ten crown and knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma three times throughout the season, compiling a 28-2 mark overall.
The 2012 Illini produced two NCAA event champions, 11 All-America accolades among seven individuals, three Big Ten titles between two gymnasts, two All-Big Ten honorees and their fourth-ever Nissen-Emery Award winner, senior Paul Ruggeri. Additionally, freshman C.J. Maestas earned Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year under the leadership of the Illini coaching staff.
For his efforts throughout Illinois’ stellar season, Spring also notched his third straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, while Ribeiro and Ivankov garnered Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year accolades.