TEMPE, Ariz.—After 34 years of coaching, all at his alma mater Arizona State, Sun Devil gymnastics head coach John Spini announces his retirement following the 2014 gymnastics season.
“I am so blessed and so grateful for the opportunity to coach at Arizona State,” said Spini. “I attended Arizona State and I had the privilege to do what I love for a living for the past 34 years.”
A four-time Pac-12 coach of the year, Spini’s teams have qualified for 21 NCAA Championships (including 32 postseason appearances), with nine teams finishing in the top-five nationally and four as NCAA runner-up.
"Of my time at Arizona State, I'll cherish working with the athletes, administrators, my staff and people I now consider my friends," said Spini. "I am so grateful for the memories, the great memories I've had from my time here."
Individually, Spini coached six gymnasts to a total of 10 NCAA titles, most recently with Ashley Kelly in 2004 on balance beam. Overall, 27 of Spini’s athletes earned a staggering total of 81 All-American honors.
"We are grateful for the legacy John Spini leaves at Arizona State," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Dawn Rogers. "On behalf of the hundreds of student-athletes, colleagues and fans he impacted; we all thank him for his passion, energy and dedication."
Spini’s investment to Arizona State expands beyond the confines of coaching. In 2006 the John Spini Gymnastics Training Facility opened inside what is now known as the Dickey Athletic Complex. The facility provided the Gym Devils their first on-campus practice facility dedicated solely to gymnastics.
"Coach Spini leaves an elite program that has achieved excellence in every facet," said Rogers. "He developed and mentored national champions. His everyday presence will be missed but John is a Sun Devil for Life and we look forward to his future support for all our teams."
Hired on Aug. 16, 1980, Spini is the longest tenured coach in Arizona State history and holds an overall career record of 348-220-2 as head coach of the Gym Devils.
On life after retirement, Spini emphasizes he has not retired yet.
"We have a great team this year and I'm looking forward to seeing them excel and have fun every meet. But when I do retire, I plan on being a fulltime grandfather and helping my wife Lisa around our club gym, Desert Lights."
|Around the NCAA|
|“I consider John Spini one of the pioneers of college women’s gymnastics and it is hard to imagine the sport without him in it. I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with him early in our careers and our schools have had a lively and entertaining rivalry for many years. John is not only an accomplished coach, he is one of the real personalities in the gymnastics coaching community and I will miss that.”
-Greg Marsden, Utah
"I was fortunate to join John in the late 90's as an assistant coach -- we had some incredible athletes and great teams during that time. Those were great years. It was an honor and privilege to work with and learn from John.
“John is one of the best motivators in our sport and was able to help his teams reach their full potential and achieve incredible success. It was exciting to be a part of the Sun Devil Family! As a colleague, mentor and friend, I will miss seeing him lead the Sun Devils. He has had a profound impact on our sport, touched many lives, and built an amazing program at ASU."
|"Coach Spini and ASU were a perfect fit for me as a student-athlete. John was incredibly encouraging and patient as I made the transition to collegiate gymnastics. He has been a positive influence on my coaching career and I will be forever grateful for all he has taught me both as an athlete and as a coach."
-Danna Durante, Georgia