Auburn Assistant Named ISU Gymnastics Coach

AMES, Iowa – Jay Ronayne (pronounced roe-NANE), whose superlative recruiting efforts helped raise the national profile of the Auburn University gymnastics program in the highly competitive SEC, was named Head Coach at Iowa State University. Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Administration Calli Sanders made the announcement Wednesday.

 AMES, Iowa – Jay Ronayne (pronounced roe-NANE), whose superlative recruiting efforts helped raise the national profile of the Auburn University gymnastics program in the highly competitive SEC, was named Head Coach at Iowa State University. Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Administration Calli Sanders made the announcement Wednesday.

        "We conducted an exhaustive search to find a coach, who can build upon the positive momentum in our gymnastics program and also strongly desires to be at Iowa State University," Sanders said of the national search she headed. "Jay's positive effect on the Auburn program is easily defined through its steady improvement in national finishes and the quality of recruits he's landed. His personality and charisma, along with an excellent technical background in the sport, position him to be a very successful coach at Iowa State University."

        Ronayne comes to Iowa State after four seasons (2003-2006) as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Auburn. He replaces K.J. Kindler, who accepted head coaching responsibilities at the University of Oklahoma.

        "I am thrilled that Jamie Pollard has given me the chance to continue the success of Iowa State gymnastics," Ronayne said. "This to me is an opportunity of a lifetime. My wife and I are looking forward to immersing ourselves into Ames and the Iowa State community."

        Ronayne's tenure at Auburn coincided with the most productive period in school history. The Tigers competed in four consecutive NCAA Regional Championships (2003-06), one NCAA Championship (2003) and produced three All-Americans in his four years. Ronayne is credited with helping elevate the Tigers' program to a steady Top 20 finisher (three times in his four seasons) with his tireless and effective recruiting skills. Prior to his appointment, Auburn had gone six seasons finishing outside of the NCAA's Top 20.

        One of Ronayne's recruits, Julie Dwyer, became just the third multiple All-American in Auburn history. She was named 2006 SEC Gymnast of the Year. He also recruited Lindsey Puckett, the 2006 Northeast Regional vault champion. Three of the last four Auburn gymnasts who qualified for the NCAA Championship have been Ronayne recruits.

        His knowledge of gymnastics and charismatic personality aided the Tigers' national recruiting approach, which landed gymnasts from eight different states, and also assisted creating a loyal fan base at Auburn. For the second time in three seasons, the Tigers ranked in the nation's Top 5 for attendance.

        Auburn was the host of the 2005 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships while he was on staff and Ronayne also helped operate the Auburn Gymnastics Academy.

        Prior to joining the staff at Auburn, Ronayne was the top assistant at West Virginia University, where he helped the team to eight Big East Conference titles, 13 NCAA Regional appearances and three NCAA Championship appearances. He coached four All-Americans, seven individual qualifiers, two NCAA Regional champions and 20 conference champions. He was named 1992 NCAA Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

        A native of Worcester, Mass., Ronayne began coaching gymnastics after competing in the sport for 12 years at the USGF and NCAA levels. A 1989 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Ronayne received a bachelor's degree in English. Since his graduation, Ronayne has done extensive graduate study in sport psychology and athletic coaching education.

        Ronayne is married to the former Mary Hefferin, who is assistant director of the Auburn aquatics center.


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