April 11, 2008
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IOWA CITY – If you ask Head Coach Larissa Libby, being named 2008 co-Big Ten Coach of the Year is about everyone else.
Libby, who was tabbed as conference Coach of the Year April 1, is quick to recognize a long list of people before even mentioning herself. “I don’t go out and do the gymnastics,” Libby said. “We spend time in the gym to prepare, but the student-athletes are the ones who go out and perform, and they did a great job this year. I also wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have a great coaching staff along with me. They deserve just as much credit.”
Being honored by her peers as co-Big Ten Coach of the Year is something that Libby is honored by, but also signifies that Hawkeye gymnastics is back on the right track.
“It’s nice to have people come up and say `congratulations,’ but that’s not why I got into coaching,” Libby said. “It’s always nice to be honored by people within the conference. It also tells me that other people are taking notice of what is happening at Iowa. We are laying the foundation for something special to happen. Our student-athletes were outstanding in the fact that they bought into our system and the results are paying off.”
Libby and the Hawkeyes are preparing for the NCAA Regional Championships, which will be held Saturday at the University of Minnesota, starting at 6 p.m. The Hawkeyes are ranked 22nd nationally and third in the North Central region. The fourth-year head coach guided Iowa back to NCAA Regional action for the first time since 2005.
“We try to instill great values into our student-athletes,” Libby said. “Things like work ethic, determination and spirit. These are things that will lead to success. It doesn’t matter what we are ranked or who we are competing against. As long as we work hard and compete at our highest level, we always have a shot. That’s what got us back to the NCAA Regionals this year.”
With that type of attitude, it’s almost certain that Libby and the Hawkeyes will be earning many more honors to come.