Valorie Kondos Field To Retire As UCLA Gymnastics Coach After 2019 Season

Longtime UCLA gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos Field, better known as Miss Val, announced this morning that she will retire from her position after the 2019 NCAA season. While this is news for most, the fan-favorite coach made the decision years ago.

According to the Associated Press, Miss Val planned for 2019 to be her final season two years ago. Deciding to retire wasn't the difficult part; keeping it a secret for two years was. But it wasn't a complete secret as Kondos Field told just a select few, including then-freshman Katelyn Ohashi, as she knew she could "always back out."

A few social media posts and a handful of interviews later, it doesn't look like she'll be backing out. 

Miss Val has been involved with the UCLA Gymnastics program for 36 years, originally joining the coaching staff as a choreographer. In 1991, she became the head coach despite having no gymnastics background.

Since then, she's led the Bruins to seven national championships with their most recent coming just last season. So the timing of her retirement may seem odd, but to her, "it just feels right."

"I know that sounds weird considering we just came off a championship and our fan base is growing exponentially, but I really feel strongly about that," Kondos Field told UCLA alumna and 2008 Olympian Samantha Peszek in an interview.

"I feel like it's time for UCLA Gymnastics to have fresh blood and new leadership."

The Bruins coach already has projects in the works that she'll be able to focus more on following her retirement. Her book, Life is Short, Don't Wait to Dance, is set to release in early October. In addition, she's working on a movie, a Full Out 2 sequel to the original movie that's based on the life of her Bruin gymnast Ariana Berlin, a Broadway theatre show and a UCLA course on famed Bruins coach John Wooden.

When asked if she's accomplished everything she's wanted to in her 28 seasons leading the UCLA gymnasts, she responded with a definite "absolutely," and the national titles aren't even the biggest accomplishments on her list. 

"The most important thing is really helping young women grow up and continue to grow up in this glorious sport at this university. To have had so many alumni and have the relationships that I do with them, it's more than I could have ever dreamed of."

Miss Val and UCLA Gymnastics are known for not only what they do inside the gym and on the competition floor, but off of it as well. Especially in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal that's changing the gymnastics world, Miss Val has been to known to be an advocate for her gymnasts and girls and women of all kinds and creating not only a championship culture but a healthy culture her athletes can prosper in.

"I've always felt my role was to help each of you find your inner voice, your uniqueness that makes you really special and very different from your teammates and help you find it, fuel it, own it and be able to share things with you that maybe you wouldn't see," Kondos Field told Samantha Peszek. "To be able to do that with you and each of your teammates was such a joy for me. And a challenge. I think that's really when the coaching part becomes magical. 

"I don't think I've ever worked a day in my life because I love what I do so much."

While she could have announced her retirement in the middle of or after the season, she chose to share thew news now because it brings a new significance and meaning to the moments that follow, especially with the current freshman class, with whom she will have only one year.

"It really makes every moment sweeter," Miss Val said. "It makes every moment magnified."

When asked what she'll miss most about being head coach, she said the athletes and relationships with the coaching staff. She hasn't even left yet, but her athletes and gymnastics fans alike are already showing how much they'll miss her.

Others want to know who could possibly replace her.

No matter who succeeds Miss Val, her impact in and out of the gym will not be forgotten.

Catching Up With JO Nationals Champion Chloe Widner

After a crazy weekend at J.O. Nationals, only a few gymnasts left victorious, taking first-place all-around in their age group. Chloe Widner of Texas Dreams gymnastics took first all-around in the Senior F category. She also placed well in each event, taking first on floor with a 9.850, first on beam with a 9.675, second on vault with a score of 9.900, and tied for fourth on bars with a 9.700. These four high scores gave her an all-around of 39.125 and won her first place!

Top 5 Gymnasts To Watch at Canadian Championships

Gymnastics Canada is set to crown its 2019 national champions in artistic gymnastics at the 2019 Canadian Championships. But with more than 300 women and nearly 500 men competing, there's a lot of talent to watch. Here are five of the top athletes to keep an eye on during the competition from May 23-26, which will stream live here on FloGymnastics.

These NCAA Teams Had The Best Showing At 2019 JO Nationals

This past weekend was Junior Olympic Nationals, and many of the competitors have already committed to NCAA teams, some being 2019 graduates and others not finishing high school until 2022. Although this competition had no true impact on NCAA standings, we ranked the top NCAA teams based on their incoming gymnasts’ performances, just for fun!

Ana Padurariu Aims For Confidence & Consistency Despite Setback

Aly Raisman once said "Simone [Biles is] just in her own league. Whoever gets second place, that's the real winner." That would make Canada's Ana Padurariu the "real winner" of the 2019 Stuttgart World Cup, as she finished second at the all-around competition behind Biles.

Master List: College Commitments For 2019 J.O. Nationals Qualifiers

Over 650 of the top level 10s in the country will be competing at USA Gymnastics' 2019 J.O. National Championships May 18-19 in Indianapolis. Many of these gymnasts have already committed to or even signed their National Letter of Intent for an NCAA gymnastics program. Below is the full roster for JO's (current from USAG as of May 14) along with intended colleges for those who have already committed.

Ashton Locklear Announces Gymnastics Retirement

World Champion and Olympic Alternate Ashton Locklear announced her retirement from gymnastics on May 16, 2019. 

Gabryel Wilson Determined To Make Last JO Nationals Count

Growing up, Gabryel Wilson didn't know what college gymnastics was. When she began the sport, it was simply what she did after school. Then, like many young gymnasts, the Olympics were her dream. But things changed when colleges started paying attention to her.

NCAA Finalists Well-Represented At JO Nationals

Not many gymnastics fans could have predicted which NCAA teams would finish in this year’s top four. With Oklahoma, LSU, UCLA, and Denver finishing the 2019 season on top, some might be wondering what next season will look like for these teams. 

4 Standout Gymnasts To Watch At The 2019 JO Nationals

In club gymnastics, gymnasts compete all year to qualify to state. At state the top competitors qualify to regionals, and from there, only a select few gymnasts move onto nationals. Because of these intense qualifications, Junior Olympic (JO) Nationals is a competition of the best club gymnasts each year, and so much talent is showcased there.

Chris Waller Named UCLA Head Coach

Chris Waller has been named the new head coach of the UCLA gymnastics team. Waller takes over for longtime head coach Valorie Kondos Field, who led the Bruins for 29 years.