Iowa's 20-Year Gymnastics Coach Resigns Ahead of Release of Report on Program

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University of Iowa women's gymnastics coach Larissa Libby resigned from her position effective May 10, the school announced in a Monday media release.

As reported by the Des Moines Register, was announced in late March that the women's gymnastics program would undergo an independent review after members of the program expressed concerns regarding Libby related to the environment within the program. Iowa hired Phil Catanzano, co-founder of the Education and Sports Law Group, to conduct the independent review of the program. The review has been completed, according to a university spokesperson, but has not yet been released to the public.

Last season was Libby's 20th as Iowa's head coach, Tyler Tachman of the Register reported. Jessa Hansen Parker will serve as the interim head coach as a national search for the program’s next head coach is ongoing.

“My time at Iowa has been a tremendous journey," Libby said in a statement included in the university's release. "Filled with amazing people, immense growth, and incredible firsts. Joining this Athletic Department under Dr. Christine Grant as a young coach, was one of the best decisions I have made and one that essentially shaped the course of my career. I am very proud of all of our accomplishments both in the classroom and in the competitive arena."

"I am grateful for the amazing Iowa community and the many people who dedicated themselves to supporting the team. I will never forget the many young women and coaches who have journeyed through our program and are now out in the world contributing to society at the highest level. Leaving behind all of the wonderful coaches in all different sports, who mentored, encouraged, and inspired me throughout my years at Iowa will be the hardest part of saying goodbye. I will miss your friendship and unconditional support, but I look forward to the future and bringing all I have learned to whatever new opportunities lie ahead.”

Under Libby, the Iowa program had been a consistent top 25 team nationally and made in 24 straight NCAA Regional appearances (individually or as a team) along with a 2021 Big Ten regular season title.

Libby was a three-time Big Ten and two-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year and coached 12 WGCA All-Americans and six first-team All-Americans at the NCAA Championships. Libby coached 15 Big Ten champions, six NCAA Regional champions, 11 NCAA Championships qualifiers, while student-athletes earned All-Big Ten honors 58 times, including 28 first-team selections.

Hawkeye gymnasts also excelled in the classroom, the release states, and had a strong community presence during Libby’s tenure. Student-athletes earned Academic All-America distinction 51 times.

It was the second departure announcement involving a prominent women's coach in one day at Iowa. Hawkeyes' women’s head basketball coach Lisa Bluder announced her retirement Monday after 24 years at the school, having appeared in the NCAA championship game the past two seasons. She retires as the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten history, according to the university, with her overall record coming to 528-254 and a Big Ten record of 262-145.

Associate head coach Jan Jensen, who has been with the program 24 years, is set to fill the head coaching position.

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