Nittany Lion Men's Gymnastics Coaches Receive National Awards
For 16-year Penn State head coach Randy Jepson, the national coach of the year award is the third of his distinguished career. This season, he guided the Nittany Lions to the program's NCAA-record 12th national title. Penn State thrilled the home Rec Hall crowd, securing the crown in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion with a season-high score of 221.000.
Jepson also had four individuals earn six All-America honors at the national collegiate championships. Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.), who gained two-time All-America status in 2006, added three more honors with top eight finishes on the still rings, parallel bars, and high bar. Junior Vladi Klurman (North Miami Beach, Fla.) (still rings), sophomore Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) (pommel horse), and freshman Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) (floor exercise) captured the first All-America honors of their careers.
For Jepson, the 2007 season was also highlighted by senior captain Matt Cohen (Agoura Hills, Calif.) being honored with the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award. Bestowed in recognition of outstanding athletic achievement, academic excellence, and sportsmanship, it is the highest honor presented in collegiate gymnastics. Cohen became the fifth Nittany Lion to receive the Nissen-Emery Award, the most by any program in the nation.
A member of the Penn State coaching staff for the past 11 seasons, Slava Boiko is widely regarded as one of the foremost gymnastics coaches in the world. Respected and valued for his unparalleled technical expertise, he lends a wealth of international competitive and coaching experience to the Nittany Lion program. A member of the Soviet Union National Team from 1969-1976, Boiko won 13 national championships. From 1972 until 1992, he was involved in coaching four Olympic team champions and eight World Team Championships squads as a member of the USSR and Russian staffs.
Former Penn State six-time All-American and member of the 2004 national championship team, Kevin Tan has been a part of Jepson's coaching staff for the past two seasons. He excels at building a rapport with his athletes and lends the perspective of an active world-class competitor to the coaching staff. The Nittany Lions' first back-to-back national champion on the still rings, Tan has also been instrumental in developing Penn State into the top team in the nation in the event.
Over the past two years, Tan has quickly fashioned an impressive international gymnastics resume. In March, he bested a field that included former Olympians and world champions to win the still rings crown at the prestigious French International World Cup Paris-Bercy. Earlier this year, Tan became a back-to-back still rings champion at the Winter Cup, a prominent USA Gymnastics event held annually in Las Vegas. A year ago, the California native captured first place in the rings at the 2006 Visa Championships in August. Then, after being named the captain of the U.S. Men's Senior National Team, Tan won a bronze medal in the still rings competition at the DTB Pokal World Cup in November.