Dec. 19, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS – The 2014 Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame Banquet will take place on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Four new members will join the Hall of Fame this year as Jeff LaFleur, Doug Day, Chris Voelz and Gavin Pierson will be inducted.
"The Hall of Fame banquet is a wonderful celebration of gymnastics in the state of Minnesota,” University of Minnesota men’s gymnastics head coach Mike Burns said. "It's not strictly about the University of Minnesota, but a lot of it revolves around the Gopher men's and women's programs. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is certainly a thrilling honor."
The evening begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Courtyard by Marriot located at 1500 Washington Ave. South in Minneapolis.
The new Hall of Fame inductees will be honored for their contributions to Minnesota gymnastics. On the men's side former Gopher Jeff LaFleur will be inducted under the alumni category. LaFleur is already a member of the "M" Club Hall of Fame.
"It’s fitting for Jeff, who was former head coach Fred Roesthlisberger’s first big scholarship recruit and who really helped turn the tide of Minnesota gymnastics around, to be inducted to the Hall of Fame this year," Burns said.
On the women's side, former Gopher women's gymnastics assistant coach Doug Day will be inducted. Day spent nine years (1997-2006) as an assistant coach with the Gophers, during which the team won two Big Ten team titles (1998, 2006) and made one team appearance at the NCAA Championships (2002).
In addition, Day started the Minnesota Gymnastics Foundation in 1997 with the first-ever Gymnastics Hall of Fame Banquet. His vision is still alive in this great event.
"This is a great tribute to Doug," Burns said. "It will be nice to have Doug inducted into the Hall of Fame."
Day currently coaches the women's gymnastics team at Air Force Academy. He and his team will be in town to take on the Gopher women's team in a tri-meet with Lindenwood on Saturday following the banquet.
Former University of Minnesota women's athletic director Chris Voelz will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame for lifetime service for all she did to help lift the Gopher women's gymnastics program to where it is today.
"Chris did an awesome amount of work to promote women’s gymnastics and help bring gymnastics up to a higher level here at the U," Burns said.
The recipient of the Abby Szott Courage Award will be seven-year-old Gavin Pierson, a gymnast from jam Hops Gymnastics here in Minnesota.
"Gavin has been battling health issues for almost two years now," Burns said. "He's had a lot of tough times and is fighting through. If ever there was a deserving recipient of the Courage Award, it would be Gavin."
The Gopher women's gymnastics team kicks off its season with the Intrasquad Meet on Saturday, Jan. 4, and the men's team begins 2014 with its Alumni Meet on Saturday, Jan. 11.
About the Minnesota Gymnastics Foundation
The University of Minnesota Men's and Women's Gymnastics Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Minnesota Gymnastics Foundation. The Foundation has been in existence for 12 years and is a non-profit organization designed to support the gymnastics community in the state of Minnesota. Local gymnastics enthusiasts established this charitable organization, which intends to provide support to local gymnastics, with an emphasis on healthy competition and academic achievement.
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.
The Minnesota Gymnastics Foundation's board members are Mike Burns, Shelley Eklund, Jenny Hansen, Tim LaFleur, Mark McKiernan, Gerry Phillippi, Meg Stephenson, Julia Thompson and Brad Thorsen.
Local Talent Makes Impact on Gophers' Roster
University of Minnesota men's gymnast, Ryan Bergman, has become a staple competitor for the Gophers in the Parallel bars lineup and hails only 30-minutes down the freeway from the U.
Shashank's Redemption: Journey to Most Improved
University of Minnesota men's gymnastics sophomore Shashank Yallamraju was named the Gophers' Most Improved Gymnast of the 2016 season.
Wittenberg's NCAA Address
Alex Wittenberg was chosen as the student-athlete representative for the 2016 Men's Gymnastics NCAA Championships.