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Legendary LSU Gymnastics Head Coach D-D Breaux Retires

DD Breaux.jpg
Posted at 9:58 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 11:06:02-04

By LSU Athletic Communications

BATON ROUGE – Head coach D-D Breaux is retiring after 43 seasons as the leader of the LSU Gymnastics program, she announced Tuesday.

Breaux, who retires as the longest tenured coach of any sport in Southeastern Conference history, has built the LSU program into a national powerhouse. Breaux will remain a part of the athletics department doing what she loves the most, being an ambassador for LSU. Co-head coach Jay Clark will take over for Breaux as just the third head gymnastics coach in school history.

As the “Dean of Coaches” at LSU, Breaux has represented the University at the highest level in the gym and in the community. She has dedicated her life to LSU and to more than 200 gymnasts she has coached over the years.

See video of Breaux on the announcement of her retirement:

During her tenure, Breaux has maintained LSU’s reputation as one of the premier collegiate gymnastics programs in the country with more than 800 wins under her leadership. The Tigers have placed among the top-10 teams nationally 31 times in 43 seasons with program-best second place finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions.

“I’ve always told myself that I would know when it would be time to make this most difficult decision,” Breaux said. “This program was not built easily, but it is now in the most secure and positive position it has been since its inception. LSU Gymnastics is one of the best and most powerful programs in the country with, most importantly, the most incredible fan support.”

“Jay was named co-head coach in anticipation of this moment. He is a great recruiter and his coaching philosophy is demanding and produces excellence. I have confidence in my decision because the torch is being passed on to Jay.”

Breaux is considered a pioneer of collegiate gymnastics and women’s sports. Since her first season in 1978, she has advocated for her program and has built it from the ground up. At the beginning of her career, the Tigers trained in a corner of the Carl Maddox Field House. They now utilize the top gymnastics training facility in the world.

The Tigers are the three-time defending Southeastern Conference champions. Breaux's squad won the inaugural SEC Championship title in 1981 and returned to the top once again in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The three-peat marked the fifth time in SEC history a team has won three or more SEC titles in a row. Her team has also gone on to finish second on five occasions and third seven other times.

Breaux’s gymnasts have combined to win 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles. There have been 266 All-America and 91 All-SEC honors earned in 43 seasons.

Breaux’s top priority for LSU gymnastics student-athletes is their work in the classroom She is known to annually have one of the finest academic teams, and LSU gymnasts have been named WCGA Scholastic All-Americans 160 times.

Breaux’s team won the Tiger Cup in 2013, 2014, and 2015, an award given to the LSU team with the most community service hours, the highest GPA and the highest national placement in postseason competition. In addition, the gymnastics team earned the Community Service Award for combining community service with excellence in the classroom at the annual LSU Academic Gala in 2013 and again in 2015.

For her dedication to the sport and her teams’ numerous accomplishments, Breaux has been recognized by her peers time and time again. In the summer of 2009, Breaux received one of the highest honors as she was voted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame. Breaux was first recognized as the National Coach of the Year in 2014 and once again in 2017. She was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

She has been named the SEC Coach of the Year on nine occasions (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019) and NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year nine times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017).

From passing out free tickets at the local grocery store to creating the premier gymnastics environment in the country, Breaux has built a powerhouse program through hard work and dedication. LSU Gymnastics has taken the state by storm.

LSU owns two sellouts as well as four meets with 13,000-plus fans in Maravich Center history. LSU has averaged more than 10,000 fans in each of the last four seasons and finished top-five nationally over the last seven seasons. Tiger fans helped LSU finish first in the SEC in average attendance in 2018 and 2020 and third in the nation amongst any women’s teams.

One of the most fulfilling moments of Breaux’s career came in 2016 with the opening of the Gymnastics Training Facility. Breaux worked with the Tiger Athletic Foundation and the LSU administration to fulfill a dream of a training center for the gymnastics program. It is considered the top gymnastics facility in the world and modeled by many collegiate gymnastics team.

The foundation for Breaux’s coaching career developed long before her arrival at LSU. An excellent athlete in her own right, Breaux's affiliation with the sport began at the club level where she was a nationally-ranked gymnast by both the A.A.U. and the U.S.G.F. She was set to compete at the 1972 Olympic Trials before a career-ending knee injury forced her to retire.

Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, attended Southeastern Louisiana University, where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.

Breaux then served as an assistant coach for the Lady Lions for three seasons, where she also became a national-level judge and served as the first state director for the Louisiana USA gymnastics program. She later transferred to LSU in 1976, where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees.

Breaux is one of eight children and comes from a great family tradition. Her parents, brothers, sisters and their spouses and children have supported the program since the coach’s arrival at LSU.

Breaux has two daughters, Jewel and Sara. She is the proud grandmother to Porter, Chase, Robert and Rose.

LSU Accolades under Breaux

8 NCAA Championship Finals Appearances (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

35 Consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances

30 NCAA Championships Appearances

15 Individual National Titles

19 Regional Titles

1 Honda Award Recipient

3 AAI Award Winners

1 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist

266 All-America Honors

22 SEC Champions with 44 SEC Titles

93 All-SEC Honors

160 Scholastic All-Americans

7 SEC Gymnasts of the Year

6 SEC Championships

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