Jan. 19, 2012
The Gophers are hosting the annual Men’s & Women’s Gymnastics Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, January 20th at TCF Bank Stadium.
The 1982 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championship team will be inducted as well as Honorary Athletes Robert Emery and Bridget Knaebele Warner. Dan Schermann will be presented with the Lifetime Service Award (posthumously) and Colleen-Stark-Haws will be presented with the Abby Szott Courage Award.
The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor individuals and teams who have made outstanding contributions to the University of Minnesota’s Gymnastics teams and to those who have helped develop and promote the sport of gymnastics in the state of Minnesota.
This year’s banquet will celebrate the 30th anniversary and the induction of the 1982 Big Ten Men’s Championship Team.
The Gophers swept the all-around competition that year. They claimed the top three spots with Brian Meeker, Joey Ray, and Tim Koopman. Seven members of the 1982 team will be attending the banquet, including Brian Meeker, Joey Ray, Tim Koopman, Jeff Murray, Tim Ryan, Gregg Campbell, and Pat Houde.
This year’s Men’s Honorary Athlete is Dr. Bob Emery.
Dr. Emery has spent the last 25 years of his impressive medical career here in the Twin Cities, most recently holding the position of Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul and Director of Cardiovascular Research at Region’s Hospital, also in St. Paul.
After attending medical school at Tufts University in Boston he came to do his residency and fellowship right here at the University of Minnesota in the mid to late 70’s. The early 80’s found Bob in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Boston before heading to Tucson as a Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona.
He came back to Minnesota in 1987 as the Director of Cardiac Transplantation at the Minneapolis Heart Institute for 2 years then moved on to become the Director of Cardiothoracic Transplantation at the Heart Institute in December of 1989, a position he still holds today.
Bob grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts and attended Penn State University from 1965-1969 where he was a star for Gene Wettstone’s Nittany Lions.
He was a seven-time NCAA All-American and finished second, third, and fifth in the All-Around during his three years of competition. He also won the EIGL Championships in the All-Around, the Side Horse, and the Parallel Bars.
Bob was a member of the US National Team and competed for the USA in the ’67 Pan Am Games alongside our own Fred Roethlisberger. He also competed as a member of the 1970 World Games team and the 1970 World Student Games. He missed the ’68 Olympic Team by one spot, finishing 8th at the Olympic Trials.
In 1969 he was honored as the Nissen Award winner. This award is given to the nation’s top senior gymnast every year. Bob was the fourth ever to win the award. The Nissen is comparable to football’s Heisman Trophy. If all of this wasn’t enough, Bob also served as his Senior Class president at Penn State University.
In 1997 Bob was approached by the College Gymnastics Association to assist with the continued existence of the Nissen Award and with the support Bob provided, the award has since been called the Nissen-Emery Award.
This year’s Women’s Honorary Athlete is Bridget Knaeble Warner from New Hope, Minnesota.
Bridget began her career at Olympic Gymnastics in 1985 and in 1992 continued her training at Twin City Twisters. In 1995 she was the Region IV All-Around Champion and at JO Nationals that year, she placed in the top eight on three events.
She continued her success in 1996 when she was the USAG MN State Champion in the All-Around competition, as well as on Bars, Beam, and Floor. She placed second in the All-Around and first on Beam at the Regional Championships and earned top eight honors on Vault at JO Nationals.
In 1997 Bridget again was the USAG Minnesota State Champion in the All-Around, on Bars, and on Floor. At JO Nationals Bridget earned JO National Team status by placing fourth in All-Around. She also placed in the top ten on three events.
Bridget earned a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan where she was an excellent athlete and student. She was a two-time team captain and was the team MVP in 2001.
She was a member of the Big Ten Team Champions in her first three seasons and won Bars in 2001 and Floor in 1998. She was awarded Academic All-Big Ten honors every year as well as being a three time Scholastic All-American.
In 2001 Bridget was the Northeast Regional All-Around and Bar champion. She was a member of the 1999 second place team and the 2001 third Place team at the NCAA National Championships. She was a four-time All-American and a finalist for the Honda Sports Award for Gymnastics.
Bridget and her husband Mathew live in Memphis, TN where she is a family Law Attorney at Butler Sevier Hinsley & Reid, PLLC. She is licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi. She is also Vice President of the Board of Directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization serving abused and neglected children who are going through Juvenile Court dependency and neglect proceedings in Memphis and Shelby County.
The Lifetime Service Award is presented to an individual who has given a minimum of 25 years of service to the sport of gymnastics in the State of Minnesota. Those years of service could come from coaching, judging, State Board memberships, promotional activities to support our sport or owning a club.
This year’s Lifetime Service Honor is awarded to Dan Schermann.
Dan was a 1978 graduate of Anoka High School and walked on to the University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics team for one year before transitioning into the coaching world full-time.
He coached at Jonathon’s Living Seagulls and Lakeville North High School until he accepted the Head Coaching position at TAGS. In 1985 he headed to the University of Nebraska to become the Assistant Coach for the Women’s Gymnastics Team and at the Nebraska School of Gymnastics. He also continued his education at UNL.
Dan graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1988 with a degree in Industrial Engineering and returned to Minnesota as part-owner of Perpetual Motion Gymnastics in Cottage Grove. After starting a family and accepting an engineering position, Dan and his wife, Mary decided to coach closer to home at TAGS South.
Dan continued to coach at TAGS South from 1997 on, coaching classes as well as boys and girls teams. He had a passion for teaching and seeing the “light go on” when a gymnast finally made the correction and saw success.
Dan was an incredible coach, teacher, and motivator. He simply loved the sport of gymnastics and enjoyed playing a positive role in all gymnasts’ and fellow coaches’ lives.
Though he left us far too soon, Dan loved and lived with inspiration. His positive legacy lives on in the hearts of all of the gymnastics family who worked with him and loved him.
The "Courage Award" is presented every year to someone who has displayed or incorporated their love of gymnastics while encountering or overcoming obstacles in their lives. The Foundation decided to name this award after someone who exemplified this type of courage – a beautiful young gymnast named Abby Szott. She was an accomplished gymnast at TAGS South and Eagan High School before losing her battle with cancer in March of 2006. Her parents, Kaye and David, have since established a foundation in her name to help support parents who have a terminally ill child.
This year’s recipient of the Abby Szott Courage Award is Colleen Stark-Haws.
Colleen began her coaching career at the age of 14 when she started coaching a summer gymnastics program out of her parent’s garage. By her senior year, the program had grown to include more than 50 kids.
In 1991 Colleen began her high school coaching career and in 1993 was recruited to start coaching a new high school gymnastics program in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. During her years at Sauk Rapids, her team earned two conference titles, a sectional title, and a state berth. In 1997, Sauk Rapids High School won the Class A State Gymnastics Championships, which was the first state title in that school’s history in any sport.
In 1998 Colleen and her husband, Joel, started the Junior Tiger Gymnastics youth program. As a member of the Midwest Amateur Gymnastics Association, or “MAGA”, her teams have earned ten Divisional Championships over the past 15 years. Through the JTG program, over 1,000 girls have experienced the thrill of gymnastics. Colleen has been honored as the MAGA Coach of the year six times.
She joined the St. Cloud Tech High School Coaching staff in 1999 and during her tenure there the Tigers have earned seven consecutive CLC conference titles, six consecutive Section 8AA titles, and qualified six teams into the Class AA State Tournament, producing four state runner-up team titles. In 2009 she was honored with the first ever MSHSL Assistant Gymnastics Coach of the Year award.
Colleen was a three-sport athlete for St. Cloud Cathedral High School and lettered numerous times in all three, including swimming and diving, track and field, and gymnastics. She won six letters and was the team captain for three years.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. After living with the disease for almost six years, she continues to be a strong advocate for MAGA and Minnesota high school gymnastics as a coach and judge. She is an active member on the Minnesota State High School League Advisory Board and an Avid Gopher Gymnastics Fan.
“The annual Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame banquet is an amazing event that highlights not only the University of Minnesota’s men’s and women’s gymnastics legends but also recognizes those who have helped to develop and promote the sport within the state of Minnesota,” men’s head coach Mike Burns said. “There are so many gymnastics greats that hail from this great state, and while many competed for Minnesota, just as many came here to coach, judge, or start clubs. This event was created to include the entire gymnastics community in Minnesota. This year we have a special blend of alumnae and non-alumnae that will be inducted. It will prove again to be a wonderful event.”