After 33 years, UAA’s first and only head gymnastics coach Paul Stoklos announced his retirement at the end of the past school year. On July 20, 2017, interim athletic director Tim McDiffett introduced Tanya Ho as the new and just second head coach in 34 years of Seawolf gymnastics history.
“We think Coach Ho is a great fit for UAA Athletics and as a leader of our current and future women’s gymnastics student-athletes. Most importantly, I think she comes to UAA with a vision of where she wants to take the program,” McDiffett said.
Ho is the first addition to UAA’s gymnastic coaching staff for the 2017-18 campaign. She will be welcomed by Alina Cartwright, who just finished her first season as assistant coach for UAA.
Ho encountered UAA’s gymnastics team as a former competitor and coach in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for 13 years. A native of Elk Grove in California, Ho stayed close to home while competing collegiately at UC Davis. There she became the most successful gymnasts in program history. The 2010 MPSF Gymnast of the Year captured 13 All-MPSF honors including the MPSF all-around title (2008) and tying for the MPSF vault title (2007). She also became the first Aggie to qualify for three NCAA Regional meets before graduating with a degree in exercise biology in 2010.
Ho served as volunteer assistant coach for two years at UC Davis before joining Sacramento State’s coaching staff in 2012. Her coaching experiences made her well aware of the competitive level of the NCAA, their regulations and the recruiting landscape as well as the athletic and academic values of being a student athlete. As an assistant coach at Sacramento State, her main events of responsibility were balance beam, 2013-15, and uneven parallel bars, 2016-17. She produced various MPSF champions as well as NCAA Regional qualifiers in those two events. For her excellent work with the Hornets, Ho was named MPSF Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016.
During Ho’s athletic and coaching career, former UAA head coach Paul Stoklos already caught sight of her and considered her a valuable member of the gymnastics community.
“Observing Tanya [Ho] as a coach at meets and having seen her as a competitor, I always thought she had the potential to be a terrific head coach someday. Bottom line, she will do a great job,” Stoklos said.
Ho is excited about her new task and expressed her desire to maintain the tradition of high academic excellence that the Seawolf’s gymnastics team is well known for. In 2016 eight of the 16 Seawolves landed on the MPSF All-Academic team and two of those individuals, Simone Penker and Marie-Sophie Boggasch, graduated with perfect GPAs of 4.0.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, and I hope to continue the culture of academic and athletic success,” Ho said.
Ho will bring athletic innovation while aiming to maintain the past tradition of academic success as the head coach during the 2017-18 campaign at UAA.