- Penn State has been selected to host the men's gymnastics NCAA championships on April 12-14, 2007.
- Penn State's hosting of the 2007 men's gymnastics NCAA championships will mark the seventh time in school history that the Nittany Lions have hosted this championship event.
- The last time Penn State hosted the NCAA men's gymnastics championship was in 1998 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Other years PSU has hosted the championships (all in Rec Hall) are as follows: 1960, 1966, 1974, 1983, and 1991.
- Penn State's NCAA championship last year was it's NCAA-record 11th all-time. The Lions has captured men's gymnastics championships in: 1948, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1976, 2000 and 2004. Additionally, more Nittany Lion individuals, 48 total, have won NCAA titles then any other institution.
- Penn State has hosted and won the championship in the same year only once, 1960.
- Penn State is slated to host the 2006 NCAA men's volleyball championship as well as the 2006 first and second rounds of the women's NCAA basketball tournament.
Press Conference Excerpts
Opening Statement from Athletic Director Tim Curley:
"I think all of you know that we've had a rich tradition here for our men's gymnastics program and I'm really pleased today to officially announce that the NCAA has awarded Penn State the host site for the 2007 men's gymnastics national championships and we're really happy to bring it back to Happy Valley. I think all of you know that we've hosted it a number of times in our history here at Penn State. The last time we hosted it was 1998 here in the Jordan Center. The championships have been held in Rec Hall in 1960, '66, '74, 83' and '91, so this is really a great thing for us to be able to bring this great event back to Penn State for the seventh time in our history. Penn State enjoys, I think as all of you know, a tremendous record winning national championships. We've won an NCAA-record 11 national championships in men's gymnastics. We've also won 48 NCAA individual titles, the most of any other institution in the country. And so, Randy and his staff and Coach Wettstone and Karl Schier and their staffs have just done a wonderful job here with this program and for us to be able to bring this back to Happy Valley is something that we're very excited about. Our staff here at the University has done a great job in terms of hosting these events. We understand the sport extremely well and I know our support staff is really looking forward to having an opportunity to bring this to State College. I know our student-athletes are very excited as well. Obviously, the prospective student-athletes that we will be recruiting to Penn State will enjoy having the opportunity to compete here on campus. We have a very knowledgeable gymnastics crowd that can really appreciate great gymnastics, so I know our fans will appreciate it as well. So, just on behalf of the University, I just want to express my appreciation to the NCAA and the gymnastics committee on their confidence in bestowing the hosting responsibilities on us for 2007 and we look forward to not only hosting a great championship, but putting on a first-class event for Penn State and the gymnastics community as a whole."
Penn State Men's Gymnastics Head Coach Randy Jepson:
"My staff and my team are thrilled to be able to host the NCAA championships in 2007. Having won it most recently in 2004, and then back in 2000, those were wonderful events for us, but to have an athlete be able to win a championship on his own floor is certainly a life-long dream. We're going to be able to hopefully make part of that dream a possibility by hosting that event. We're very excited to have the event here at Penn State in 2007 and I know that the people that we recruited as well as young individuals that will still be on the team at that point are very thrilled and certainly excited about the possibility of winning a championship on our home floor in front of home fans. You know the last time we won here, there's only been one time, was 1960 and 47 years is too long as far as I'm concerned, so we're going to do our best to not only host the championships, but to hopefully fair very, very well and possibly even win. There's a little bit of fear and trepidation when you bid for an event as a coach. You do that two or three years ahead of time and quite frankly we don't know what kind of team we're going to have at that point. Here we are, two years away from the event, I'm still unsure. I know what my incoming class will be like. The freshman class this year I'm pleased with, they are strong. Should be a good group. So many things have to fit together well for that event to come off the way we want."
Will the championships be held in the Bryce Jordan Center or in Rec Hall?
JEPSON: "We originally bid and placed that in terms of Rec Hall, but with some of the construction events going on at Rec Hall, there's a possibility that could shift to the Jordan Center. I know people around the country, in terms of gymnastics, like both venues. Most people that have competed have competed at Rec Hall and are familiar with that. There's certainly a competitive advantage for us being at Rec Hall because it's a home meet. We move it to the Jordan Center, it's a little different flavor for us. It's not a venue we compete in normally, it's one that we've been very successful in. Either place has its benefits, and I know that regardless of where the event will be held that it will be a showcase event."
On whether Penn State's national championship record helped in winning the bid.
JEPSON: "I don't know if our competitive record sealed it as much as the reputation Penn State has for putting on excellent events. Across the board, the staff has just done an outstanding job. And people want to bring championships back here at the NCAA. I know when they did the volleyball championship a couple of years back, they did an incredible job. That was more a feather in our cap I think then anything, knowing that our staff can handle the events the way they should be showcased and handled and that's a big plus for Penn State all around."
CURLEY: "Let me just add that there are a lot of different things that go into when a committee looks at where they would award championships. I would say, probably the overall of when the last time you won it or what your competitive record is is probably lower on the radar screen. They look at geographic areas, where the championship has been in the past, and try and move it around to different parts of the country. What's you past history in terms of hosting and what kind of success did you have in terms of the actual just putting on the event and meeting your bid? As Randy said, we've had a lot of NCAA championship events here and the NCAA understands that we know how to run championships. I think a good positive thing here is that since we've hosted it seven times before, we've done well enough that they've wanted to come back and they understand what a great gymnastics community this is and what a great venue we have in either the Jordan Center or Rec Hall to host a championship event. When you put on a championship event. Your biggest goal is that you want to make this the best possible experience for the student-athletes that are participating and there's a lot that goes into that. I know the one of the things that our staff has worked very, very hard on is to try and make these events something that all participants, whether you win or lose, walk away and say, 'that was a great venue, great event, great fans that understand the sport and we were treated really well and it was something special above and beyond? We want to give them what we call a first-class NCAA championship experience."
Will your team have to qualify or will you get an automatic qualifier as the host?
JEPSON: "We'll have to qualify. There's no automatic qualification based on host site. Last time we hosted, we had some injuries at the end of the season and did not qualify. Probably the darkest day in my coaching career, but you know we've learned a lot and hopefully we'll be in prime position to be able to not only qualify, but to do well."
What are some of the advantages to hosting?
JEPSON: "Pride- No. 1. You're competing out in front of your own fans. That's a huge advantage. I know Illinois had a big advantage competing in their arena last year, fortunately for us is wasn't quite enough. Other than that- familiar surroundings, you're in your home venue, you're sleeping in your own bed, guys have a regular schedule, there's no travel involved. It could be a plus that way, but you have distractions as well."
Can you talk about the logistics of pulling this off?
CURLEY: "In terms of the logistics, I'm not sure whether it will be Rec Hall or the Jordan Center, I think we're prepared to handle whatever we need to do. As I said the staff has done these before and they have a really good feel for it? Certainly we want to get a wonderful crowd, so logistically we're going to work very hard with our marketing, promotions and ticket office to make sure that we reach out to the Pennsylvania gymnastics community, which has been a very good one, a very strong one in the past. We want to make sure we get this date on their calendar and circled so that we can get as many bus trips in here and as many people to come in and see. For those of you have not been to a gymnastics championship, this is one of the great events in the NCAA championship portfolio that's out there. The quality and level of performances is outstanding? It's a really, really exciting event. I just marvel at the level when you get to the championships of performance by these student-athletes."