20 September 2016

Valorie Kondos Field


valorie-kondosValorie Kondos Field is one of the most accomplished coaches in NCAA Gymnastics history. As the head coach of the perennial power Bruins for the past 26 years, she has won six NCAA team championships, 17 NCAA Regional titles and 13 conference titles. In 2010, she became just the second active coach ever to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, and she has been recognized by her peers four times as the national and conference coach of the year.

Kondos Field’s coaching philosophy stresses balance and integrity. Her teams are regularly represented on the conference all-academic teams and scholastic all-American squads and contend each year for UCLA’s team GPA award.

She has consistently recruited the best talent in the world to UCLA, signing gymnastics superstars such Olympic gold medalists Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross, as well as Simone Biles and Kerri Strug, who ultimately turned pro before competing for UCLA. Perhaps even more impressive, however, has been Kondos Field’s ability to nurture and cultivate the talent. Several have gone on to compete at the elite level both during and after their collegiate careers. Two years after graduating from UCLA, Anna Li made the U.S. Olympic team as an alternate in 2012. After her sophomore season at UCLA, Vanessa Zamarripa made the U.S. National Team. And Kate Richardson became only the second female gymnast to compete at the Olympic Games as a collegiate athlete, competing at the 2004 Olympics for Canada after her sophomore year. Richardson was joined in Athens by another Bruin, Mohini Bhardwaj, who captained the U.S. team to a team silver medal three years after her senior season at UCLA.

A former professional ballet dancer, Kondos Field initially got her start in gymnastics by playing the piano for floor exercise music. She then became a dance coach and learned the fundamentals of the sport. In 1983, she was hired at UCLA to be an assistant coach/choreographer by UCLA coach Jerry Tomlinson. Together they put UCLA Gymnastics on the map with distinctive choreography and flair. After being named head coach in 1991, Kondos Field took the program to the next level, guiding the Bruins to their first NCAA title in 1997.