Univ. of North Carolina - Gymnastics

DEREK GALVIN • HEAD COACH

  • 2010 EAGL Coach of the Year
  • 2005 EAGL Coach of the Year
  • 2004 NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year
  • 2004 EAGL Coach of the Year
  • 2003 NCAA Southeast Region Co-Coach of the Year
  • 2002 NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year
  • 2002 EAGL Coach of the Year
  • 2000 EAGL Coach of the Year

Only the third gymnastics coach in North Carolina history, Derek Galvin enters his 37th year in Chapel Hill.  Galvin, who has been at the helm of the program since it became an NCAA sport in 1982, has an overall record of 407-242-1.  His programs combine the best of athletic and academic achievement every season. He was also inducted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame in June 2017. Serving as chairperson of the East Atlantic Gymnastics League. Also serves on NACGC/W Board of Directors.

Over the last 14 years, Galvin’s Carolina program has experienced an explosion of success. The Tar Heels have won five East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) titles since 2002, including back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011.  The Tar Heels also won league titles in 2002, 2005 and 2006. 

Carolina has advanced to the NCAA regionals in 12 of the last 15 seasons, and has come tantalizingly close to competing in the national championships.  The Tar Heels have come within one place of advancing from regionals to nationals on several occasions.  Most notably, Carolina came within a whisker of making the NCAA finals in 2004, placing third at the Southeast Regional, just .025 points behind the second place team. The previous year, the Tar Heels missed the necessary second-place spot by .05 points.

Galvin’s successes have been recognized with five EAGL coach of the year honors and three Southeast regional coach of the year awards.  Most recently, he was the 2010 EAGL Coach of the Year after leading the Tar Heels to a come-from-behind victory at the championship meet.

In the last 30 years, gymnasts coached by Galvin have been chosen for the National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches’ Scholastic All-America Gymnastics Team 156 times.  Two of Galvin’s former gymnasts – Natalie Halbach and Stacey Kaplan – have been honored as a GTE Academic All-Americas.  Halbach, a 2003 graduate, was the first female student-athlete in the Atlantic Coast Conference to receive the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, the most prestigious academic award given by the NCAA.

Six Tar Heels – Kristin Aloi, Acacia Cosentino, Morgan Lane, Josselyn Mackey, Janell Sargent and Lauren Weisel were named to the 2015 NACGC-W Scholastic All-American gymnastics team, which requires a year-long or cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher through the season.

Tar Heel gymnasts have had their share of success in the arena as well.  Courtney Bumpers, a 2006 graduate, achieved the ultimate individual honor in 2005 - winning floor exercise at the NCAA championships with a perfect score of 10.0. It was the second straight floor exercise national crown for Bumpers, who also earned All-America honors in 2003 with a fourth place finish on balance beam.  Christine Robella earned All-America honors in 2006 on floor exercise. It was her first All-America honor and the fourth in Carolina history. Several gymnasts have won individual league honors in Galvin’s tenure.  Christine Nguyen was a three-time EAGL Gymnast of the Year honoree from 2008-10.  Kara Wright, one of Carolina’s top 10 all-around performers, was the 2010 EAGL Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  In 2011, Morgan Evans captured the all-around title at the NCAA regional.  In 2013, Elizabeth Durkac was named the league’s top gymnast at the conference banquet held in Chapel Hill. In 2014, Haley Watts was named the league's Senior of the Year.

Those are just a few of the recent success stories that have dotted Galvin’s coaching resume.  He has a long history of success at Carolina. In his first year as head coach in 1982, he guided the Tar Heels to a fourth place finish at the Southeast Regional. His 1985 and 1986 teams both finished third at the meet after placing first in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In addition to UNC’s accomplishments as a team, Carolina has been represented every year at NCAA regionals by at least one individual gymnast. In 2003, Bumpers and junior Anna Wilson were the first Carolina gymnasts since 1986 to qualify for the NCAA national championships as individuals. Bumpers recorded the then-highest finish ever of any ACC or EAGL gymnast with her fourth place finish on the balance beam in the final round before achieving her championship status in the next two years on floor exercise.

In 2004, the Tar Heels had arguably the best year in school history. Galvin was named the NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year for the third straight season after directing the team to a 22-1 record and a second place finish in the EAGL Championships. The Tar Heels earned a regional appearance and the .955 winning percentage was the highest in school history. It was a record-breaking year in team and individual results with the Tar Heels setting school records on every event except balance beam and scoring above a 197.0 in four meets. Bumpers, who earned the program’s third-ever 10.0 in 2003, turned in seven perfect scores on floor exercise and surpassed her previous school record on the vault and in the all-around competition. She has the school’s highest all-around total with a 39.725 and the highest vault score with a 9.975. Olivia Trusty set a record on uneven bars with a score of 9.95.

Galvin was named the EAGL Coach of the Year for the fourth time in 2005, leading his team to a regular season record of 14-4-1 and the conference championship. Carolina finished the year ranked 23rd in the country and tied for third place at regionals. A year later, the Tar Heels repeated as EAGL champions.

Galvin has been involved in gymnastics in various capacities throughout his life. He was a member of the Carolina men’s team before the discontinuation of the program in 1974. Staying involved in the sport, he spent four years coaching at Gymdancetics, a training center established by Fred Sanders, former coach of the Carolina men’s team. Under Galvin’s guidance, team members dominated state competition and advanced to the United States Gymnastics Federation championships.

In 1978, he became director and head coach of the Triad Gymnastics Academy. The following year he accepted an administrative position with the research and consulting firm of Syllogistics, Inc., but remained active in area gymnastics. His first season as head coach of the Tar Heels was in 1982.

Galvin has made contributions to many other areas of the gymnastics community. In 1982, he was named to the NCAA Southeast Region Advisory Committee and served as committee chairman for several years, including the 2005 season. He was the gymnastics site coordinator for the 1987 United States Olympic Festival in Chapel Hill. He is an active member of the NACGC and has served as a clinician of several USAG and NCAA Y.E.S. clinics.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, Galvin moved to Arlington, Va., with his family when he was 10 years old. He competed on two state championship gymnastics teams under coach Jesse Meeks at Yorktown High School and graduated from Carolina with a psychology degree in 1976. Galvin and his wife, Debra, have two children. Both graduated from college in May 2003 - their son, Derek Sean, from UNC and their daughter, Ryan, from the University of Virginia.  Galvin has four grandchildren - Lily, Annie Wise, Maggie and Olive.

MARIE CASE DENICK • ASSISTANT COACH

Carolina Gymnastics welcomes new assistant coach Marie Case Denick for the 2017-2018 season. Not only did Case Denick have a successful career as an athlete, but also the three-time Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Year is starting to make an impact as a coach. She will serve as a primary coach on vault and floor exercise.

Case Denick comes to Carolina from Bowling Green State University in Ohio where she served as an assistant coach the last two seasons. Her primary duties at BGSU included coaching the vault and floor exercise and coordinating the team's academics and community service. The Falcons finished second in the MAC last year, the team's highest finish in the conference since 1987. One of Case Denick's athletes won the floor exercise and another was the MAC's Freshman of the Year. In addition, the team improved its grade point average to 3.65 and recorded more than 1,000 hours of community service.

During her first year at BGSU she helped the Falcons qualify to NCAA Regionals as a team for the first time since 1991. She also served as co-director for the BGSU Summer Camps and Bowling Recreation Gymnastics. The Falcons set a school record team score for a single meet and one of her athletes won the all-around at the MAC Championship.

The Erie, Pa., native began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at her alma mater, Kent State, in 2015. She was the MAC Gymnast of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2011 and the conference's all-around champion as a junior and senior. She qualified for the NCAA Championships in the all-around in 2014 and was the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Regional Gymnast of the Year.

TAYLOR SPEARS • ASSISTANT COACH

An NCAA champion gymnast and previously a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, Taylor Spears joins Carolina’s coaching staff as one of two new assistant coaches. Spears will serve as a primary coach on balance beam and bars.

Spears was a member of the University of Oklahoma's coaching staff the last two seasons as a volunteer coach, helping the Sooners win a pair of NCAA gymnastics championships. As a student-athlete at OU, she won an NCAA team title and was the NCAA individual champion on the balance beam as a senior in 2014. That year, she also was an All-America on the uneven bars, was an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, and a finalist for the AAI Gymnastics Award recognizing the most outstanding college senior.

In 2013, Spears was the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year and was the Big 12 all-around, beam and bars individual champion. She earned All-America honors as a junior in the all-around, bars and beam.

Spears was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection. For the past three years, she also served as a head coach at the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Okla.  In May 2017, one of her gymnasts from the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy captured the title of USAGymnastics Junior Olympic national champion on balance beam.