Alabama Gymnastics Head Coach Ashley Johnston Names Olympian and NCAA Champion Justin Spring to Coaching Staff
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Olympic medalist and NCAA champion Justin Spring has joined the head coach of Alabama’s gym staff Ashley Johnson announced Tuesday. Spring will serve as an assistant coach, working with all aspects of the program.
“I’ve known Justin from our days on the US National Team, and I’m beyond thrilled to add his experience, enthusiasm and spirit to our program,” Johnston said. “As an Olympian and NCAA champion as a gymnast and coach, he knows exactly what it takes to excel at the highest level in this sport and he has demonstrated time and time again that he can share his knowledge and his experience in a way that most benefits his student-athletes. Not only is he a terrific technical coach, but he brings such joy and energy to everything he does and shares our philosophy of developing the person as a whole and to prioritize the well-being of student-athletes.
A member of the bronze medal-winning United States Olympic team, Spring joins the Crimson Tide staff following his 12th season as head coach of the Illinois men’s team and his 16th season overall with the staff. of Illinois coaches. He was named National Coach of the Year in 2012 after guiding Illinois to their 10th NCAA championship. At 28, he was the youngest coach in NCAA history to win National Coach of the Year honors. He led Illinois to 11 top-six finishes at the NCAA championships, including the 2012 title, as well as four Big Ten titles, the last being in 2018.
“I’m so excited to take on this amazing opportunity in one of the top gymnastics programs in the country,” Spring said. “Ashley has assembled a cohesive team that is committed to developing female student-athletes in and out of the gym. I look forward to creating a life-changing experience for these young women and bringing home the SEC Championships and NCAA.”
In 12 seasons as head coach of the Fighting Illini, Spring guided 11 gymnasts to individual NCAA titles, including three NCAA champions in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Illini racked up 79 All-America honors during Spring’s tenure as head coach. During his coaching career in the Illini, he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018, 2012, 2011 and 2010, Central Region Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2010, and assistant coach of the year of the central region in 2009.
Spring and his wife, Tori, have three children, sons Cody and Elliot, and daughter Callie.
The Olympic Games
- Led Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
- In the Olympic team final, Spring led Team USA to an unexpected bronze medal, scoring 15.900 on vault, a team-leading 15.850 on parallel bars, 15.675 on horizontal bar and 15.200 on floor in the three, three time format.
- Earned one of six spots at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after US Trials
National and International Competition
- U.S. Olympian and eight-time member of the U.S. Senior National Team
- 2008 Visa U.S. Championships Gold Medalist – Parallel Bars
- Eight-time member of the United States Senior National Team
- 2007 Pan American Games Team Member – Bronze Medal
- 2007 Pan American Gold Medalist – Parallel Bars
- 2007 Visa U.S. Championships Gold Medalist – High Bar
- 2007 Visa U.S. Championships Silver Medalist – Floor Exercise
- Moscow 2007 World Cup Silver Medalist – High Bar
- Member of the 2005 World Championship Team USA
- 2005 Visa U.S. Championships Gold Medalist – High Bar
- 2005 Winter Cup Champion – High Bar
- 2005 American Cup Silver Medalist – High Bar
- Member of the 2003 World University Games team
Competing for the Illini
- Graduated from the University of Illinois in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in voice communication and earned his master’s degree in recreation, sports, and tourism in 2014
- The 2006 Nissen-Emery Award, an honor that goes to the top senior male gymnast in the country
- Led the Illini to second place at the 2006 NCAA and Big Ten championships
- 13 times All American
- 2006 NCAA Parallel Bars Champion
- 2006 NCAA High Bar Co-Champion
- 2006 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year
- 2006 Big Ten Parallel Bars Champion
- 2006 Big Ten All-Around Champion
- 2005 U.S. National High Bar Champion
- 2005 NCAA Parallel Bars Champion
- 2004 NCAA High Bar Champion
- 2004 Big Ten Floor Exercise Champion
- Three-time All-Big Ten member
- Two-time IU Dike Eddleman Athlete of the Year (2004, 2006)
- Illinois School Record Holder (FX, VT, PB, HB)
- Team captain for two years
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