Randy Jepson Selected National Coach of the Year
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State men's gymnastics coach Randy Jepson, who guided the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Championship in 24 years, has been named Coach-of-the-Year by the College Gymnastics Association.
"We couldn't be prouder of Randy," athletic director Tim Curley said. "He has done a wonderful job with the men's gymnastics program and this NCAA title is validation of the energy and enthusiasm he has brought to his responsibilities."
Jepson, in his ninth season as skipper of the Lions, guided Penn State to an 8-1 dual meet record and brought the Lions back from a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Big Ten Championships to their record 10th National title.
Penn State entered the NCAA Championships ranked fifth in the nation and was a decided underdog based on a sub-standard performance in the Big Ten competition. Behind a school-record 39.025 points on the pommel horse, the final event, the Lions squeezed past defending champion and top-ranked Michigan to secure the crown.
The Nittany Lions had five individuals earn six All-America certificates including: Brandon Stefaniak, pommel horse; Dominic Brindle, still rings and high bar; Chris Lakeman, still rings; Ted Johnson, floor exercise, and Rob Saliski, vault.
Stefaniak successful defended his NCAA pommel horse title to become only the eighth Penn State gymnast to win more than one NCAA title.
An All-America on rings as a Penn State undergraduate, Jepson joined the coaching staff in 1983. He was named to succeed Karl Schier as head coach in 1992. Since taking charge of the program, Jepson has led Penn State to the NCAA Championships six times. Their best previous finish under Jepson was a third-place showing in 1995.
During his years as a Penn State coach, including nine years as an assistant, Penn State student-athletes have earned All-America certificates 47 times, including six in the most recent NCAA Championships. Nittany Lions Adam Carton, Wayne Cowden, Mark Sohn and Brandon Stefaniak have combined to win nine NCAA titles since 1983. Sohn was the first man ever to win four National pommel horse championships.
A native of Portland, Ore., Jepson lettered three years at the University of Oregon and was an NCAA finalist on rings his sophomore year. He transferred to Penn State in 1982 when Oregon dropped its gymnastics program. In his one season of competition as a Nittany Lion, Jepson served as captain and won All-America honors on rings.
A Nissen Award nominee as a senior, Jepson posted a perfect score of 10.0 on rings in a meeting against a team from the Soviet Union in 1983 at Rec Hall.
Jepson recently has been heavily involved in National Team training champs helping to prepare the U.S. squads for the 1999 World Championships and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He also was selected as an assistant for the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnepeg, Canada.
NOTE: ESPN will air the 2000 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, April 16 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.