What do Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian and a whole host of other amazing gymnasts have in common? They are all Bruins, coached by our keynote speaker, “Miss Val,” UCLA’s Head Gymnastics Coach, Valorie Kondos Field. (By the way, you know your team must be something awesome when even your team manager (Jordyn Wieber) is an Olympic Gold Medalist!).
(reprinted unedited from officialmissval.com). I have enjoyed an amazing Life. I grew up surrounded by the Arts. I was a pianist and classical ballet dancer throughout my adolescence. I grew up with an accomplished artist as a father and a mother who embodied LOVE… unconditional and bountiful Love. My brother is the brains of the family, he is literally a Rocket Scientist. Combine all of these talents with the fact we’re Greek and it’s safe to say that our home was always filled with ENERGY—often the very loud kind.
When I was 22 and dancing professionally I learned that UCLA Gymnastics needed a dance coach for their gymnastics team. My dream was to attend UCLA, so when they flew me out for the interview and offered me a full scholarship in lieu of a salary, I felt I had won the lottery.
Eight years after I got to UCLA the Athletic Director called me into her office and offered me the Head Coaching job. “What?” I remember saying. “This is crazy, I’m not a Coach.”
That was 26 years ago. Since then our program has earned 6 NCAA Championships, loads of Pac-10 and later Pac-12 Championships, numerous individual champion titles and academic honors, and in 2010 I was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame. Yes me, the non-athlete was inducted in the ATHLETIC Hall of fame. Oh, and this past year I was honored as the Pac-12 Coach of the Century for Gymnastics.
Even after all these years I still don’t feel like a Coach. I feel more like a glorified Manager and Director of an amazing athletic team. As a dancer, I wasn’t brought up in the athletic culture of Winning. So the pervasive motivation to ultimately be able to say “Haha, we beat you” has never resonated with me. Please know, I quickly found my competitive fire on the competition floor. However, when I reflect on what my ultimate responsibility is with our student-athletes, coaches, and staff; it is to help the facilitation of learning Life lessons through this amazing sport.
Along with my UCLA career, I’ve choreographed and directed live stage shows for the past 26 years and enjoy the handful of speaking engagements I can fit into my schedule.
This past year I sold a concept that I’d been working on for many years, a Modern Nutcracker, to Warner Bros. In turn, NBC bought the rights to air it as a two-hour TV special. It hasn’t been green lit yet, but just knowing that a major studio and TV network thinks my idea worthy of serious discussion is extremely exciting.
Life is SO MUCH FUN!
Miss Val is the keynote speaker at Connect To Confidence UCLA. Get inspired! Don’t miss out. Buy your tickets [here].