Men's Gymnastics Coaching Legend Gene Wettstone Honored by Alma Mater
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; September 13, 2005 - Former Penn State men's gymnastics head coach Gene Wettstone was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of Iowa Letterman's Club in a halftime ceremony of the Hawkeyes' football season opener with Montana.
A 1937 Iowa graduate, Wettstone won Big Ten titles in the pommel horse, horizontal bar, and all-around in his senior season.
After earning a master's degree from Iowa, he was hired to guide the Penn State men's gymnastics program, where he led his Nittany Lion teams to heights of unprecedented success. In a career that spanned four decades, Wettstone compiled over 200 victories and won nine NCAA Championships. He coached 45 individual NCAA champions and produced 12 Olympians. He was the U.S. Olympic coach in 1948 and 1956 and was the Olympic team manager in 1976.
Universally recognized as one of the luminaries in the sport of men's gymnastics, Wettstone, 93, still resides in State College and maintains a keen interest in the current Nittany Lion squads.
Last year, in a special ceremony before the Penn State-William & Mary dual, a sculpture created by internationally acclaimed artist Richard MacDonald was dedicated in honor of Coach Wettstone. The sculpture, which is on permanent display in the Penn State All-Sports Museum, depicts a gymnast strained in the execution of a move called the "Flair" and exalts the determination, tenacity, and dedication inherent in the pursuit of excellence. In addition, an award inspired by the piece, to be named the Gene Wettstone Award, has been established and will be presented annually to the team's most outstanding gymnast.