Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Danna Durante Named Head Gymnastics Coach


duranteDanna Durante, who served as head coach at California-Berkeley for the 2012 season and was the 2007 National Assistant Coach of the Year, has been named head gymnastics coach at the University of Georgia, Director of Athletics Greg McGarity announced Wednesday.

Prior to her stint at California-Berkeley, Durante spent nine seasons at the University of Nebraska as the Cornhuskers’ beam coach and choreographer. She joined the Nebraska staff as an assistant coach in 2003, then served as associate head coach from 2007-2011.

Nebraska gymnasts earned a total of 23 All-America honors during Durante’s time in Lincoln, and she helped guide the Cornhuskers to a fourth place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

“Danna is ready for this challenge," said McGarity. "She embraces the remarkable accomplishments of our gymnastics program, and we’re very confident she will provide the leadership, passion and experience to be successful at UGA. Danna has excelled at every stop along her journey --- as a student-athlete, a club coach, an assistant, associate and head coach at outstanding institutions, and we are confident this pattern will continue at UGA. I know she is anxious to get started.”

Before joining the Nebraska staff, Durante was an assistant for five years at Washington, where she helped lead the Huskies to the 1999 NCAA West Regional title and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She was named the West Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002. Before joining the Washington program in 1998, Durante spent two years working as a coach with the Arizona Sunrays and Royal (Fla.) Gymnastics Club.

“I want to thank Dr. (Michael) Adams and Greg McGarity for this opportunity,” Durante said. “I could not be more excited to join the Dawg family. With its rich history and amazing success UGA is without a doubt one of the premier programs in the country. The community support for the Gym Dawgs is unparalleled, something I truly look forward to experiencing first hand. We have a very strong, hungry team returning and we are excited to hit the ground running as quickly as possible. It’s important to me that the Georgia alumni understand how much I value their connection to this program. The doors to the gym are open and they are always welcome.

“The decision to leave the University of California was a difficult one, and I want to thank Sandy Barbour for the opportunity at Cal. The support from the administration at Cal and the Berkeley community is strong, and I’m excited about where the program is headed.”

A native of Tulsa, Okla., Durante was a two-time member of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation National team in 1988 and 1990. She qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials and won top honors in the all-around in 1986 and 1987 at the South African Cup. She competed internationally in Germany, France, Bulgaria and South Africa, and was also a two-time member of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation National Team. In addition, Durante served as a USAG Elite Level Judge from 1996 to 2000.

"Danna has an outstanding background and is highly regarded throughout collegiate gymnastics," said Carla Williams, UGA executive associate athletic director. "We're looking forward to her energy and expertise in leading our program."

Durante graduated from Arizona State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science/Exercise Wellness. She was an All-Pac-10 gymnast for the Sun Devils from 1992-95, and scored five perfect 10s. Durante and her husband Joe have a daughter, Samantha (12), and two sons, Jaxson (10) and Jordan (9).

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