Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
For 29 seasons, Jerry Reighard has led the Central Michigan gymnastics program into a power at the conference, regional and national level.
Reighard has guided 14 teams to Mid-American Conference crowns while earning nine MAC Coach of the Year honors along the way. CMU won MAC titles in 1990, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’03, ’04, ’10, ’11, '12, and '13 while Reighard collected coaching honors in 1988, ’90, ’95, ’98, 2004, ’05, ’09, ’10, and ’12.
He was named the 2003 NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year after leading the Chippewas to a second-place finish at the NCAA Regionals. Reighard was also named the National Invitational Tournament Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000.
CMU has finished first or second in the league 15 of the last 17 seasons. It has also posted an overall winning record in 16 of the past 17 years. The Chippewas have made 10 NCAA Regional appearances under Reighard (1999, 2000, ’02, ’03, ’05, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, '13).
Chippewas Win Fourth-Straight MAC Title Under Guidance of Reighard
In 2012, the Chippewas won their third-straight MAC Championship crown and second-straight regular season title in arguably one of Reighard's best coaching performances. Picked to finish second in the MAC and featuring just one senior in the lineup, the Maroon and Gold went undefeated in the MAC to push their consecutive unbeaten streak against league foes to 34. With a victory over Northern Illinois, the Chippewas clinched at least a share of the season title and claimed the outright title with a win over in-state rival Western Michigan. CMU went on to win the MAC Championships thanks to five titles: Brittany Petzold (all-around), Kristin Teubner (floor and beam), Taylor Noonan (beam) and Meaghan McWhorter (vault). Teubner was also named the MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year.
CMU claimed its first regular season crown since 2007 and second-straight MAC Championship in 2011. The Chippewas finished the year ranked No. 23 in the country and made their third-straight appearance at the NCAA Regional Championships. With a win over Eastern Michigan, Reighard captured his 400th career coaching victory and led CMU to a record of 23-6 overall and a 12-0 mark in the MAC. CMU hosted the MAC Championships and dominated the meet, capturing five MAC titles: Kristin Teubner (beam, floor and all-around), Cheryl Conlin (floor) and Brittany Petzold (bars). Teubner named MAC Co-Gymnast of the Year.
The Maroon and Gold experienced a breakthrough 2010 season. Central claimed its first MAC title since 2004 and finished the season with a 20-5 record, also its best since 2004. Katie Simon was named MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year and won three events at the MAC Championships to end her career with a school-record seven individual MAC titles. Britney Taylor became the fourth-consecutive CMU gymnast to earn MAC Freshman of the Year honors. Simon and Taylor also earned first-team All-MAC honors along with teammates Cheryl Conlin, Andrea de la Garza and Jessica Suder. CMU finished the year ranked 22nd in the country and defeated three ranked teams season; No. 21 Michigan State, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 20 Kentucky.
The Chippewas experienced a terrific turnaround in 2009. After finishing 11-13 in 2008, only the second time in the past 23 seasons the program has posted a losing record, CMU rebounded to a strong 19-7 campaign and a second-place finish at the MAC Championships. Katie Simon was a first-team All-MAC selection after she won four events at the competition, only the second athlete in conference history to accomplish the feat. Kristin Teubner also earned first-team All-MAC honors and was named MAC Freshman of the Year, the third straight CMU athlete to claim the award. Central qualified NCAA Regionals as a team for the first time since 2005, finishing fourth in the Northeast Regional.
CMU was ranked as high as 12th in the national polls during the 2005 season, by far its highest spot in the rankings.
The Chippewas also swept through all of their MAC regular season dual meets in 2005 for the third consecutive year. It was the seventh time they accomplished that feat under Reighard. Their conference dual meet-winning streak reached 27 straight at the end of 2005.
In 2004, the Chippewas won their 10th MAC title under Reighard. CMU sent two all-arounders, Sara Burtinsky and Kara Reighard, to the NCAA Regionals with Burtinsky advancing to the NCAA Championships.
The Chippewas dominated the 2004 MAC Championship meet, sweeping the individual events and scoring a school and conference record-breaking 197.525.
The 2003 squad finished with a 30-6-1 record and was undefeated, 12-0, in conference action. The team broke numerous school and MAC records and had its best NCAA finish ever. CMU posted its highest finish in the regional meet, finishing in a tie for second and missing out on a bid to the NCAA Championships after losing a tie-breaker with Auburn. Three gymnasts advanced to the NCAA Championships that season.
Reighard has compiled a 409-204-3 dual meet record and a 190-49 MAC record during his coaching career. His MAC record is the best in conference history.
CMU Gymnasts Succeed In Gym and Classroom
Reighard also has stressed academics during his tenure. His squads have been ranked in the top 20 in the nation for team grade point average seven times. The Chippewas were ranked sixth in 1997, seventh in 1998 and sixth in 1999.
Reighard has been a nationally rated judge since 1975 and an internationally rated judge since 1980. He has judged a variety of national and international meets. He was a master scorer at the 1996 Olympic Games, worked at the 1991 World Championships and judged at the national level and the Olympic trials for men.
Reighard spent a year at CMU as a graduate assistant in 1975 before coaching the boys’ and girls’ gymnastics teams at Ionia High School for 10 years. He led the boys’ team to the state championship in 1983 and ’84.
Reighard graduated from Central Michigan University in 1974 with a bachelor's of science in industrial engineering and technology and earned a master’s degree in physical education and sports administrations from his alma mater in 1980.
Jerry and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 36 years. They have four children - Brett (30), Kara (28), Jill (25) and Mark (22). Nancy is an assistant coach for CMU. Kara was a standout gymnast for the Chippewas from 2002-05.