Brockport Woman’s Gymnastics

By Laken Sooy

Training Gym in Tuttle North Athletic Complex

The Brockport women’s gymnastics team was established in 1968, a few years after the men’s gymnastics team. The team was originally a club team, meaning that they were affiliated with Brockport, but they did not receive the same status and funding that varsity teams did. Liz Savory was the first official head coach of the team and helped build them from the ground up. They resorted to multiple methods to recruit members, even including an advertisement in The Stylus, the SUNY Brockport newspaper to share information about the team and practice times. Eventually, the team practiced in the brand-new gym in the basement of the Tuttle North building. This new gym was built for both the men’s and women’s teams and was one of the biggest Division III gymnastics facilities in the country. The team started off slow, but soon began winning more meets. In 1975, women’s gymnastics became a Division III varsity sport at Brockport. Since then, the team has only continued to grow.

A major turning point in the history of Brockport women’s gymnastics was when new head coach John Feeney was hired. He led the team to nine regional championship victories, and even coached the team to two national championship wins in 2012 and 2019. Feeney was known in the gymnastics community as the “father of gymnastics” and produced 130 All-American gymnasts. Since there has not been a national championship since 2019 due to COVID-19, the Brockport Women’s team are still reigning National Champions. Feeney coached the team until May of 2021 when he retired after 22 years of coaching. Brockport hired René Lyst, who has a long and successful history coaching gymnastics. Lyst hopes to help the team retain their national champion status as the team currently prepares for the upcoming season.

Sources

Brockport Athletic Website

Brooke Spiegel, The Stylus, 27 March 1979, 12

Gail Gau and Chris Dysart, The Stylus, 6 February 1975, 16

Various authors, The Stylus. 1 April 1971, 2

Various authors, 2007 Brockport Team Program, Rose Archives of Drake Memorial Library

1 comment

  1. Well researched! It has been a pleasure to watch the team over 50 years and to watch it prosper. As a faculty member I would add that the gymnasts have tended to be excellent students, many coming from out-of-state. The team has represented what is best in college athletics.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php