Dana Duckworth (Gymnastics HC) Steps Down

4Q Basket Case

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A bit puzzling.

The “spend time with family“ justification is getting a bit hackneyed, and would suggest that it wasn’t an entirely voluntary exit. We were SEC champs last year, consistently in the Top 10 nationally, and it seemed every member of the team had a GPA of 3.5 or better.

2022 was a bit of an up-and-down disappointment — excellent performances followed by mediocre ones the next week. The NCAA finals were especially disappointing. But that’s only one year.

No, it’s not the level that we achieved under Sarah and David Patterson. But they were without doubt the #2 college gymnastics coaches of all time, and close to the GOAT.*

So the question to Greg Byrne is: If you don’t think Duckworth is the one, who do you think will come in and do better? It will be interesting to see how he answers that one.

* As much of a flaming female dog as Suzanne Yoculan was, results don’t lie…while she was far from a good human being, she was the best coach.
 
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WylieTexasTider

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Hopefully we will hire someone that can get us back to the top. It's been sad to see programs we once dominated gain ground, or surpass, us during her tenure.
Not sure who Byrne thinks he is going to get. This team for the first time scored 3 198’s or higher in the same season. Also, the RQS this year was higher than the Patterson’s last year. Yes they failed to perform at Nationals but, how much were the effected getting on a plane after the last trip involved an inflight emergency causing the plane to drop 15k+ feet in a couple of minutes, oxygen masks to deploy and an emergency landing. Some thinking they were going to die? I’ve been on a plane to have an engine explode shortly after take off. Seeing flames comes out of an engine is nothing I will forget. Neither will the emergency landing in “brace” position.

Injuries are a part of sports but, had Blanco and a couple of others been 100%, a good chance they finish higher than 7th at Nationals. Speaking of Nationals, had they been the format they are now, not sure the Sarah Patterson leads them to the Super 6 every year. It cost us last year.

More importantly, our practice facilities are a joke compared to most SEC programs and other National Powers.Greg Byrne does not care b/c it is not football or mens basketball. Good luck to the next coach to sign the #1 recruiting class as Dana did this year.
 
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TideATL70

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Oct 20, 2020
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Much like Softball, the conference has gotten so much deeper since Coach Patterson retired. Mizzou, Auburn, ARK, LSU have all improved mightily when in the past it seemed like it was just UA/UGA and FLA. Seeing how UGA has struggled since Youclan left, I do admire Duckworth's leadership in following a legend. Great points made by Wylie-I felt the regular season was one of our best in years. IF?? she was forced out, I just don't know who is out there to come in and keep us in that top 6-8 conversation.
 

WylieTexasTider

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In the short term, whoever comes in to replace Dana should be able to do well with the returning talent. Barring any transfers out, they bring back at least 3 girls on each event who consistently scored 9.90+ and at least 2 others that scored 9.825+

That is an average of 197.40 before any improvement from this season OR any freshman step in. The average score last year was 197.45.

Lexi is a big loss on floor and beam no doubt, and Kaylee on vault. But, all in all, we return 2/3 of our routines. Vault and floor are hit the hardest at 50% and those were our 2 worst events so, hopefully the incoming freshman are special as touted. We finished # 3 nationally on bars and all 6 come back.

Could be a situation like when Saban left LSU and an idiot like Miles could win a Natty and be relevant for 8-9 years Just saying.


Much like Softball, the conference has gotten so much deeper since Coach Patterson retired. Mizzou, Auburn, ARK, LSU have all improved mightily when in the past it seemed like it was just UA/UGA and FLA. Seeing how UGA has struggled since Youclan left, I do admire Duckworth's leadership in following a legend. Great points made by Wylie-I felt the regular season was one of our best in years. IF?? she was forced out, I just don't know who is out there to come in and keep us in that top 6-8 conversation.
 
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edwd58

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Wow, didn't take long to find a new coach: Ashley Priess-Johnston.

I'm not positive without looking it up but I think she is a former Bama gymnast. I don't yet know anything else about her resume, as in if/where she has been coaching.
 

Crimson1967

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Wow, didn't take long to find a new coach: Ashley Priess-Johnston.

I'm not positive without looking it up but I think she is a former Bama gymnast. I don't yet know anything else about her resume, as in if/where she has been coaching.
She did go here but has coached at the barn the last few years.

 

4Q Basket Case

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She did go here but has coached at the barn the last few years.

Interesting words from Byrne regarding Sarah Patterson’s involvement in the search. That tells me that Sarah was OK with the change. Why she’d be OK with the change away from her hand-picked successor is the interesting question.

It could be because Dana Duckworth really just didn’t want to deal with the pressures of being a head coach anymore, and truly does want to do something else that allows her to spend more time with family (she has at least two teen-age children). Or it could be that Sarah saw some shortcomings.

I don’t know which it is, or if it might be something else altogether. But I’m deadly curious.
 

WylieTexasTider

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Interesting words from Byrne regarding Sarah Patterson’s involvement in the search. That tells me that Sarah was OK with the change. Why she’d be OK with the change away from her hand-picked successor is the interesting question.

It could be because Dana Duckworth really just didn’t want to deal with the pressures of being a head coach anymore, and truly does want to do something else that allows her to spend more time with family (she has at least two teen-age children). Or it could be that Sarah saw some shortcomings.

I don’t know which it is, or if it might be something else altogether. But I’m deadly curious.
Also curious as to Sarah’s involvement. Did she push Greg to make the change and if so, why? Could it be that she felt Dana was not running the program she thought was best? In other words, not her minion and she felt Ashley would do as she wants?

Lots of rumors Ashley was the front runner for UCLA and “someone” convinced her to wait. Was it Sarah?

Asking b/c I don’t want to see us become UGA where Suzanne Yoculan’s thumb on the scale has led to Courtney destroying that program.
 

4Q Basket Case

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Also curious as to Sarah’s involvement. Did she push Greg to make the change and if so, why? Could it be that she felt Dana was not running the program she thought was best? In other words, not her minion and she felt Ashley would do as she wants?

Lots of rumors Ashley was the front runner for UCLA and “someone” convinced her to wait. Was it Sarah?

Asking b/c I don’t want to see us become UGA where Suzanne Yoculan’s thumb on the scale has led to Courtney destroying that program.
I know Sarah and David Patterson a little bit socially (nowhere near well enough to just straight-out ask what happened), and don’t see her as that level of a control freak. She is a genuinely good person. Or, if she’s not, she’s a better actress than Meryl Streep.

I guess anything you don’t have personal knowledge of has some theoretical probability of being true. But I’d put the probability of Sarah Patterson attempting to influence the gymnastics program with unwanted meddling as close to zero as the chances of me turning into a UTe fan.

I do know that she maintains a good relationship with Greg Byrne, and if I’m in Byrne’s chair and have Sarah Patterson living in town, I’m certainly going to ask her to help me get the best coach for the gymnastics program. I’d view that as being willing to help when asked….a far cry from unwanted meddling.

If your information about Ashley Priess-Johnston, the UCLA job, and waiting is accurate, I think there’s a much more likely scenario: Contrary to my initial feelings about Dana Duckworth’s stated reason for resigning, she (Duckworth) really truly just didn’t want to deal with the pressures of a major college athletic program anymore, She confided that to her mentor (Sarah Patterson), and maybe even Byrne. They collectively identified AP-J as their primary target. The UCLA job came calling, and knowing the Alabama job was a possibility, Patterson persuaded AP-J to wait.

That would explain the tank in the National Championship, the speed with which they named Duckworth’s replacement, and be 100% consistent with Byrne’s remarks.

To be clear: I have no inside information. I’m just using Occam’s Razor — when faced with multiple possible explanations, go with the simplest one unless and until it’s proven wrong.

BTW — the UCLA job is one of the best in all of college gymnastics. If it was indeed a possibility for AP-J, that’s an excellent indicator of how knowledgeable people in the sport view her coaching expertise.
 
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TideATL70

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I'd be willing to bet good money that Basket's likely scenario above is exactly how it played out. I think as time goes on, DD's tenure will be reflected even more positively.
 

bvandegraff

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This all seems to have happened rather quickly, and the new coach's resume seems a little thin for a program the magnitude of Alabama's. Is this typical of gymnastics? If UCLA did want Priess-Johnston despite no prior head coaching experience and Auburn is gnashing their teeth over Bama reclaiming one of its own and a rising star in the coaching ranks, then I'm good with it. Whatever the circumstance, I'll definitely be rooting for her and hoping she succeeds brilliantly.
 

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