It is with profound sadness that we share the news that long-time Junior National Coaching Staff member Gene Watson passed away on April 2, 2020.
Gene served in numerous roles while representing the athletes and coaches of USA Gymnastics, including as Georgia State Chairman, Region 8 Chairman, Men’s Program Committee member and Junior National Coaching Staff member. He was heavily involved in the development of the Junior Olympic rules and coached many athletes to great success, including former senior national team member Alec Yoder who competed and won the bronze all-around medal at the inaugural 2014 Youth Olympic Games. He also coached and mentored such notable athletes as 1988 Olympian and 2007 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Davis and 1989 and 1991 World Championships team member Patrick Kirksey.
Gene’s tremendous service and commitment to the sport of gymnastics were acknowledged many times over. For his thoughtful and unselfish contribution in service of the USA Gymnastics Junior Boy’s Programs, he was awarded the Frank J. Cumiskey Service Award in 1991. In 2002, Gene was recognized with USA Gymnastics’ top honor, the Service Star Award, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee recognized Gene in 2015 with the honor of Developmental Coach of the Year. Gene would have been recognized for 40 years of service this year.
Gene’s presence will be missed across the gymnastics community, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, a celebration-of-life service will be scheduled in the future.