Gophers Hire Valdez As Assistant Coach
Last week the Gophers announced the addition or Jordan Valdez to the men's gymnastics coaching staff. We were able to take some time to get to know the former national champion and what he plans to bring to Minnesota.
— Minnesota Men's Gym (@GopherMGym) July 21, 2017
Gopher Sports: What brought you to the University of Minnesota?
Jordan Valdez: The opportunity to work with this historic gymnastics program caught my eye right away. The University of Minnesota Gymnastics program has an incredible past producing National Team members and Olympians. When the cards fell and I was given the opportunity to join the coaching staff and become part of this gymnastics program the only answer I could give was, "how soon can I be up there?"
GS: What did you already know about the gymnastics program here?
JV: I was good friends with several Minnesota Gymnastics Alum that have played a big role in reshaping the culture of the team over the past 4 years. So I knew how committed the team was to getting back to the top spot in the Big Ten and to do it with the right guys. I have competed against Coach Burns and his team for the past seven years, while I was a competitor and then as a volunteer coach, and I can say without a doubt that the guys that make up this gymnastics team are spectacular examples of dedication, sportsmanship, and everything it means to be student athletes.
GS: What are you most excited for this year?
JV: It's really hard to pick the one thing I'm most excited about for the year. There is a really fast timeline for these next few weeks. I'll be competing with Jalon Stephens and Shane Wiskus in California for the P&G Championships. Then I will dive right into coaching and getting the guys prepared for the long haul through routine building and getting competition ready. One thing I keep coming back to is that there is such a great energy in the gym and I really can't wait to get into practice and be a part of that every day.
GS: You were a highly accomplished gymnast yourself. How did you first get into gymnastics and what do you love about this sport?
JV: I originally got into the sport like a lot of gymnasts do. I had way too much energy as a child and I lacked the fear of injury. I was using my couch as a vault, climbing trees and just finding new ways to give my parents grey hair on a daily basis. I started with a recreational program and that very quickly turned into classes at a gymnastics gym and then within a week or two the Boys Program head coach pulled me from classes and threw me in with his team guys. It all just evolved from there. What I love most about gymnastics is the creativity and competitiveness of the sport. There are a lot of really talented guys competing at this level but the best part is that anything can happen and at any meet there are so many people who are all capable of being a champion but in the end only one person gets to walk away from the meet with that title.
GS: What made you decide to become a coach after your career was over?
JV: I had to deal with some pretty serious injuries while competing in college and while I couldn't train the world didn't stop for my teammates. So while I was out I did the only thing that I could and helped give some advice here and there. I helped reconstruct some routines and then watched my teammates go out and compete. It was hard but it was also really really rewarding. Seeing the routine that you helped an athlete build and finally come out in a meet and seeing his face right after a great routine is a feeling like nothing else. That was what drove me to where I am today. I kept learning more and studying gymnastics like a class so that I could help the guys I was working with do better and reach a level that they maybe didn't know they were capable of reaching. So that I could give back the opportunity and knowledge that I was given throughout the years I was in the sport as an athlete.
GS: What do you enjoy doing outside of gymnastics?
JV: I enjoy being outdoors, reading books and exploring nature. I grew up just outside of Boulder, Colo. so being outdoors was just a part of life. I also recently discovered that I really like cooking. I haven't had a ton of time while I was a student-athlete so now that I will have maybe another free hour or so in my day I'll probably start getting into cooking a little more.
GS: Any place you have heard that you need to check out here in Minneapolis?
JV: I haven't heard of any specific places but I am open to any suggestions! I have a lot of connections in the Minneapolis area so I'm hoping to reach out and do some guided exploration as soon as I've settled in and gotten into the groove of my new position.
GS: What do you want Gophers fans to know about you?
JV: I'm super passionate about what I do with the sport of gymnastics. I'm hoping that I can shake up the gym a little bit and bring some new or different ideas to training that get everyone thinking and pushing each other a little more so that we are able to bring a Gopher gymnastics team into season that other teams are going to be afraid to compete against.
Gophers Prepare For Major Competitions
The Gophers will be represented at the World University Games and the P&G Championships at the end of August.
Meet Assistant Coach Jordan Valdez
Last week the Gophers announced the addition of Jordan Valdez to the men's gymnastics coaching staff.
Gophers Hire Valdez As Assistant Coach
The University of Minnesota has hired Jordan Valdez as the latest member of their coaching staff, head coach Mike Burns announced Friday.