Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson named Jay Santos the head women’s gymnastics coach on May 27, 2016.
Santos coached Eastern Michigan to the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championship, the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, and finished the season ranked 17th in the nation – the highest national ranking in the history of the program.
In 2016, Eastern Michigan broke eight school records, including three on beam, earning Santos NCAA Central Regional Head Coach of the Year honors. Individually, Santos coached gymnast Rachel Slocum, who scored a career-high 9.900 to win the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional title on floor, to become only the second athlete in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Santos’ wife, Jessica Santos, serves as the Sun Devil Gymnastics program’s associate head coach. They have a son, Cooper.
Dedicated in 2006, the John Spini Gymnastics Center is a state-of-the-art practice facility designed to foster the continued pursuit of excellence by the Sun Devil women’s team. Located in the northeast corner of the Verde Dickey Athletic Complex, the facility provides an enhanced atmosphere for Sun Devil student-athletes and coaches and gives gymnasts a tremendous advantage in their athletic training. The center includes locker rooms, showers and sports medicine facilities. The training facility is named in honor of former coach Arizona State women's gymnastics head coach John Spini, who was with the program from 1981 to 2014.
The academic support at Arizona State is unparalleled in its support of student athlete development. Each sport is assigned an Academic Coach who creates the individualized academic support plans for students, assists with major selection, course planning and schedule building and monitoring progress towards degree in alignment with ASU, Pac-12 and NCAA requirements.
The Sun Devil Office of Student Athlete Development Offers:
Andrea Lore is the academic support coach for the Gym Devils and has made it a priority to help the gymnasts succeed in the classroom as well as succeeding in what they choose to do in the future. Under Andrea’s guidance, the team GPA has risen exponentially and the gymnasts are more motivated than ever for academic success. Most important of all, Andrea takes each gymnast under her wing and helps them successfully manage the rigors of balancing academics with collegiate athletics.
Out of the 80-plus gymnastics teams in the NCAA, only six teams have won the NCAA Gymnastics team title. Additionally, four more teams have finished as National Runner-Ups. The Sun Devils have finished as the NCAA second-place team four times (1983, 1985, 1986, 1997).
Jessica Santos was named associate head coach for Sun Devil Gymnastics on May 27, 2016.
Santos joins husband Jay Santos, who was named head coach of the Sun Devil Gymnastics program, also on May 27, 2016.
Santos helped coach Eastern Michigan to the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championship, the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, and finished the season ranked 17th in the nation – the highest national ranking in the history of the program.
In 2016, Eastern Michigan broke eight school records, including three on beam. Individually, Santos helped coach gymnast Rachel Slocum, who scored a career-high 9.900 to win the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional title on floor, to become only the second athlete in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Prior to her time at Eastern Michigan, Santos served as a volunteer assistant at the University of Illinois-Champaign for three seasons. There, Santos helped the Fighting Illini to their first back-to-back NCAA Championships appearances in program history. She helped coach Sarah Fielder, who took the beam title at the NCAA regional meet with a score of 9.9. On floor, Giana O’Connor and Erin Buchanan earned All-Big Ten Second Team accolades under her guidance.
Stephen Buckner joined the Sun Devil gymnastics program as an assistant coach on Tuesday, June 15, 2016.
Prior to his time in Seattle at the University of Washington, Buckner spent five years on the coaching staff at the University of Alabama, where he was both the team’s strength and conditioning coach (2013-15) and a graduate assistant (2010-13). He helped the Crimson Tide to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2011 and 2012, and to two more top-four finishes in 2014 and 2015.
A former instructor in the University of Alabama’s Department of Kinesiology, Buckner obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise physiology from Alabama. He has been a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association since 2014.