One of the University of Georgia’s most famous Gymdogs is returning to the program in a huge way.
Former Olympian and Georgia alumni Courtney Kupets Carter has been announced as the new head coach of Georgia’s gymnastics team, replacing Danna Durate. Kupets lead the Gymdogs to four straight national titles between 2006 and 2009, while winning 11 individual championships, including three all-around titles, during that stretch. She won the Honda Award in 2009 as the best gymnast in the country.
"I can't wait to instill the passion I had as a gymnast -- and now a coach -- into the current and future Gym Dogs." Kupets said in her introductory press conference.
Georgia has not won the national championship since 2009, the final year Kupets was with the program. It was also the year long time coach Suzanne Yoculan, who started at the University of Georgia in 1983, retired from the program. The Gymdogs won 10 national championships under Yoculan. Since then, the team has gone through two coaching changes, and hasn’t finished higher than fifth at the NCAA Super Six. Last year, the team finished a disappointing 12th.
Prior to attending Georgia, Kupets was a gymnast for the US National Team, and won a silver medal with the team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She also won an individual bronze medal on the uneven bars. Her experience at the international level allowed her to become a strong student leader at Georgia. After finishing her eligibility, she remained with the program during the 2009-2010 season as a student coach. Last April, the NCAA named her the greatest college gymnast of all time.
Since she graduated from the University of Georgia, Kupets has been working as an analyst for the SEC Network, and has been a coach at Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer in Athens. Georgia is hoping Kupets’ knowledge and passion of the sport returns the Gymdogs to their former glory.
"It's going to be a monumental year not only for the program, but for the gymnasts." Kupets said. "We cannot set our sights on what is now. We have to set our sights on what we want to accomplish. Georgia gymnastics will win champs again. The first time I thought about being a coach was in 2010 as a student coach, when I realized I was made for this sport...I want to bring the love of gymnastics. I want to bring the passion. But it's not going to be easy. The intention is to make sure the program is set in place, that we build a program for them to peak at the right time."
Kupets is currently searching for her coaching staff, but did make one monumental announcement at her press conference today - former coach Yoculan will be returning to the team on a volunteer basis.