April 14, 2008
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IOWA CITY, IA – University of Iowa Women’s Gymnastics Coaches Jeff Richards and Talya Vexler have been named 2008 North Central Region Assistant Coaches of the Year. The honor comes after a strong 2008 Hawkeye campaign. Iowa went 10-4-1 this season and was ranked as high as 19th-nationally and third in the Big Ten. Both coaches are in their third year with the Hawkeyes.
Richards serves as Iowa’s main bars coach and spotter for all four events. He is also in charge of travel, equipment and scheduling for the Hawkeyes. In 2008 Richards coached the Hawkeyes to a season-high 49.0 on bars against Iowa State. He coached senior Katie Burke to a first place (9.85) performance against Illinois and Michigan State. Richards also coached freshman Rebecca Simbhudas to first place performances on bars twice. Simbhudas took the title on bars against Iowa State and Southern Utah.
“I don’t think there are any other assistant coaches who have dedicated themselves to the rise of a program more than Talya and Jeff.”
Iowa Head Coach Larissa Libby
Richards joined the Hawkeyes in 2005 after serving as the head gymnastics coach at Winona State University from 2004-2005, and the head gymnastics coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stout from 1998-2004. Richards has over 16 years of coaching experience.
Vexler’s main coaching focus is on floor exercise. In 2008 Vexler helped coach the Hawkeyes to a season-best 49.225 on floor against Minnesota. Junior Jenifer Simbhudas scored 9.9 or higher on floor four times and earned a career-best 9.95 on floor against Minnesota. Vexler helped coach Simbhudas to a 10th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and led Katie Burke to a first place tie, in the event, at Texas Woman’s University.
Vexler joined the Hawkeyes in 2005 after serving as an interim assistant coach at Maryland in 2004. She also served as a coach at the University of Georgia Gymnastics Camp each summer from 1999-2003.
“I’m excited for Jeff and Talya as they are recognized for the hard work and dedication they have put into this program,” said Iowa Head Coach Larissa Libby. “They deserve this honor. I don’t think there are any other assistant coaches who have dedicated themselves to the rise of a program more than Talya and Jeff.”
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