Larissa Libby enters her 17th year as head coach, and 21st year overall, at the University of Iowa in the 2021 season.
During her tenure in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes have been a consistent top 25 team nationally, as she has led the program to 19 straight NCAA Regional appearances (individually or as a team).
The two-time Big Ten and two-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year has coached six WGCA All-Americans and five first-team All-Americans at the NCAA Championships, including national champion Alexis Maday. Maday was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2001 and the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year in 2004.
Libby has coached 11 Big Ten champions, four NCAA Regional champions, 10 NCAA Championships qualifiers, while 45 student-athletes have earned All-Big Ten honors, including 22 first-team selections.
The Hawkeyes have also excelled in the classroom and has had a strong community presence under Libby’s watch. Forty-eight student-athletes have been Academic All-Americans.
During the 2020 season, the Hawkeyes climbed as high as No. 25 in the national rankings before the season was cancelled because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Lauren Guerin earned second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors at season’s end.
In 2019, Libby led the GymHawks to a No. 31 national ranking and Big Five session victory. Iowa defeated Arizona in the opening round of the Corvallis Regional behind a 49.200 floor score, but bowed out of the regional in the second round. An influx of young talent provided a spark for the team. Junior Clair Kaji garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors, while senior Nicole Chow and Guerin were second-team selections.
During the 2018 season, Libby led Iowa to its 18th NCAA Regional appearance with a No. 33 national ranking and a 13-win season. The GymHawks finished sixth at the NCAA Regional in Minneapolis with a total of 195.050. Iowa recorded a season-high 196.400 at the Big Ten Championships to finish fourth overall. Sophomore Charlotte Sullivan was named to the All-Championship Team for the first time in her career. During the regular season, Libby coached three GymHawks — Lanie Snyder, Nikki Youd, and Nicole Chow — to second-team All-Big Ten honors. In the classroom, Iowa had a record 11 gymnasts earn Academic All-Big Ten recognition.
In 2017, Libby was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the GymHawks to a No. 18 national ranking and an overall record of 25-11, with a conference mark of 13-5. At the Big Ten Championships, Iowa placed third after recording the best championship score in program history with a 196.725. Iowa qualified for the Champaign NCAA Regional, where it finished third with a score of 196.050. At the NCAA Regionals, the GymHawks set the school record on beam with a rotation score of 49.600 — shattering the previous record of 49.425.
Freshman Clair Kaji and senior Angel Metcalf finished on top of the podium in the event with season-bests of 9.950 to advance to the NCAA Championships. Metcalf competed in the all-around (39.3100), while Kaji appeared as a specialist on beam (9.8625).
Under Libby’s guidance, the GymHawks compiled a vast list of awards throughout the season. A record five gymnasts — seniors Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf, juniors Lanie Snyder and Melissa Zurawski, and freshman Clair Kaji — earned All-Big Ten honors. Drenth, Metcalf and Snyder were also named to the All-Championship Team. The Hawkeyes also had nine student-athletes named Academic All-Big Ten.
In 2016, Libby was named NCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year after coaching the GymHawks to one of the best seasons in program history with 10 wins and a No. 19 national ranking — the program’s first top-20 ranking since 2011. The program was selected to host NCAA Regional competition in Iowa City.
Six GymHawks placed in the top 15 for individual events, leading Iowa to a fourth-place finish with a score of 195.450. Libby coached juniors Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf to All-Championship team. Drenth was selected to compete at the NCAA Championship as an individual, where she garnered All-America honors by placing third on beam with a score of 9.9125. Drenth was Iowa’s first All-American since Alexis Maday in 2004.
At the Big Ten Championships, Libby coached the team to nine top-20 finishes and a fifth-place finish with a score of 195.875, and senior Alie Glover, Drenth, and Metcalf were named to the All-Big Ten Championship team for a second consecutive year. Six Hawkeyes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
In 2015, the GymHawks qualified for NCAA Regionals, marking the program’s seventh postseason berth in the last eight years. Five GymHawks placed in the top 15 for individual events, leading Iowa to a fifth place regional finish and a score of 194.475. Libby coached the GymHawks to a season high score of 196.500 at the Big Ten Championships — the team’s best championship team result since 2010. Iowa’s performance also marked the highest team score for the program at the Big Ten Championships since 2004.
Iowa was ranked in the top 25 for six consecutive weeks during the 2015 season. The GymHawks ended the season at No. 23, marking the program’s first Top 25 ranking since 2012. Libby led sophomores Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf, junior Alie Glover, and senior Sydney Hoerr, to earn spots on the All-Championship Team. Libby is also responsible for the only other gymnast named to the All-Championship Team (Emma Stevenson, 2012) in program history.
Libby coached Iowa to a 195.775-195.175 victory over in-state rival Iowa State inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the team’s home finale. The win was the first over the Cyclones since March 8, 2013. Overall, the GymHawks collected eight conference wins, a seven-win improvement from the previous season. Libby coached senior Sydney Hoerr to second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive year and four student-athletes were Academic All-Big Ten selections.
In 2014, six Hawkeyes were selected for NCAA Regional competition. Sophomore Alie Glover, freshman Angel Metcalf, and junior Sydney Hoerr were selected as all-around competitors, while freshman Jordyn Doherty was chosen to compete on vault and freshman Mollie Drenth competed on floor. Sophomore Maryah Huntley was selected as the alternate behind Drenth on floor. Libby coached Hoerr to second-team All-Big Ten honors, while Hoerr, junior Caitlin Tanzer and sophomore Alie Glover earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Libby led Iowa to its sixth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, the seventh in her tenure, during her ninth year as head coach in 2013. The Hawkeyes finished sixth in the Norman Regional, posting 194.475. In the regular season, Iowa clinched the Cy-Hawk Series, defeating Iowa State with a season-best, 196.375-194.575. Iowa was the only Big Ten team to down Minnesota, the regular season Big Ten Co-Champions (195.725-195.550).
Under Libby’s guidance, Iowa finished its 2013 homestand undefeated. The Hawkeyes recorded their highest-ever average home attendance (1,414), drawing a season-high 2,303 fans against Iowa State. Iowa found success in the classroom as four GymHawks received Academic All-Big Ten honors.
In 2012, the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked 26th nationally, the highest finish since 2004. Libby coached Tesla Cox to second-team All-Big Ten honors and Emma Stevenson to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. The Hawkeyes hosted the Big Ten Championships, drawing a season-high attendance figure of 1,661. Libby led the Hawkeyes to a fifth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, where the team posted a 194.600 to finish fifth at the Seattle Regional.
The Hawkeyes raised their streak to four-straight NCAA appearances in 2011 with a fifth place finish at the Corvallis Regional. The team placed sixth and posted an 11-6 record during the season. Libby coached three All-Big Ten selections in Rebecca Simbhudas, Houry Gebeshian, and Jessa Hansen. Simbhudas and Gebeshian also made individual appearances at the NCAA Championships as Simbhudas was named North Central Region Gymnast of the Year.
Libby led Iowa to a third place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Championships — its best finish in six years. On top of another NCAA Regional berth, Libby coached Houry Gebeshian to a Big Ten title on beam, just the second in program history. Gebeshian, Jessa Hansen, and Rebecca Simbhudas were selected to the All-Big Ten team. Additionally, Simbhudas qualified as an individual for the NCAA Championships and earned All-America honors on beam.
In 2009, Libby led her squad to a 10-5 record and was named North Central Region Coach of the Year. The Hawkeyes had two first-team All-Big Ten selections — Houry Gebeshian and Jenifer Simbhudas. In 2008, Libby coached the Hawkeyes to their first NCAA appearance since 2005 and a fifth place finish at the Big Ten Championships. She was selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year and Jenifer Simbhudas was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and a two-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week. In the classroom, five GymHawks were named Academic All-Big Ten and seven were academic All-Americans.
In 2007, Libby led the Hawkeyes to a number of individual records. Katie Burke earned career-highs on vault, bars, floor, and in the all-around, ending a highly successful season with an NCAA Championship appearance. Kara Pinjuv, Jenifer Simbhudas, and Katie Turcotte all qualified to NCAA Regional competition. In addition to their NCAA success, Burke earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, while Pinjuv, Turcotte, and Simbhudas were second-team selections.
Libby took over as Iowa’s head coach in June 2005. She led Iowa to NCAA Regional competition in 2005 and Liz Grajewski was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree. In 2006, three Hawkeyes competed at NCAA Regionals. Prior to taking over as head coach, Libby served as the program’s associate head coach in 2004 and was an assistant from 2000-03 where she tutored Maday — an All-American, national champion, and Big Ten Athlete and Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Before joining the Hawkeyes, Libby served four years as the assistant women’s coach at Louisiana State University, her alma mater. While at LSU, she produced nine beam All-Americans, the top-ranked beam team in 1999 and helped coach LSU to four consecutive NCAA Championship team appearances.
As a competitive gymnast in Canada, Libby burst onto the scene at age 11, quickly becoming a junior national champion and a senior national champion shortly after. A member of the 1987 and 1989 Canadian World Championship teams, Libby led the Canadian team to its best-ever sixth-place finish, placing 18th in the world in the all-around and becoming Canada’s first ever world vault finalist. Along with world recognition, Libby was also a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 1988. She has earned over 30 international individual and event medals and was honored as the Canadian Gymnast of the Year in 1989 and 1990. In 2006, Libby was honored for her many national and international accomplishments. The Whitby Sports Council, the hometown where Libby began her outstanding career, selected Libby to be inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on some of Canada’s greatest athletes.
Originally from Pickering, Canada, Libby was a collegiate gymnast at Louisiana State. She was a four-year team captain and the Central Region bar champion in 1995. Libby graduated from LSU in 1996, with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a minor in French. Her husband, Chad, is the program director of athletic training at Coe College. The couple has two daughters, Taylor and Bailey.