Dec. 20, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS – The 2014 Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame Banquet will take place on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at the Courtyard by Marriot located at 1500 Washington Ave. South in Minneapolis. Four new members will join the Hall of Fame this year as Doug Day, Chris Voelz, Jeff LaFleur, and Gavin Pierson will be inducted.
“The Hall of Fame banquet is an event that brings together the Minnesota gymnastics community each year in celebration of those who have helped to make Minnesota one of the most vibrant states for gymnastics in the nation,” said Minnesota women’s gymnastics head coach Meg Stephenson.
The event will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
On the women's side, former 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 and 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.
“Doug Day was the U of M women's assistant gymnastics coach for nine years before taking the head coaching position at the Air Force Academy,” Stephenson said. “We are so excited to honor his distinctive impact on the growth if our program.”
Day and his Falcons team will be in town to take on the Gopher women’s team in a tri-meet with Lindenwood the 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 Voelz was a leading advocate for women’s sports during her time at Minnesota, especially gymnastics,” said Stephenson. “She not only increased budgets and resources, but served on the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Committee and the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors. We are thrilled that she will be back in town to receive this well deserved honor.”
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,” Gopher men’s gymnastics head coach Mike 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.
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