Former Ohio State assistant hired for UA Gymnastics post

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Bill Lorenz | Photo courtesy of UA Athletics

Sean Landry

University of Alabama gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth hired former Ohio State assistant Bill Lorenz to fill the vacancy left by her own promotion, UA Athletics announced Friday.

“We are extremely pleased to have Bill join the Alabama gymnastics family,” Duckworth said in a UA release. “We talked to people all over the country in preparing to make this hire and time and again, it came back to Bill. He is a tremendous coach, but more than anything, he understands the tradition of excellence that Alabama’s championship legacy is built on. Most importantly, his coaching style is built on the sense of family that has made Alabama gymnastics so great for so many years.

Lorenz was the National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012, the Central Region Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and chair of the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches competition committee.

Upon her hiring to replace long-time head coach Sarah Patterson, Duckworth said she and now-associate head coach Brian Raschilla would have a tough task ahead of them as they tried to find an assistant coach that would help them sustain the competitive level of the Alabama gymnastics program.

“Our coaching community is tight and it’s small,” Duckworth said. “When I sat down to make a list of potential candidates that are at existing schools, it is even smaller than I thought. I have friendships with a lot of assistant coaches, and it may not be that an assistant coach is the way to go at a current program. It may be to go to a smaller school and look at a head coach that may be willing to come to a caliber program like Alabama. There’s also the option of some amazing club coaches that are great people… We’ll find ?somebody fantastic.”

Lorenz served as the coach on vault and floor exercise at Ohio State, helping the team raise their average scores by nearly half a point on each apparatus, earning averages of 49.12 and 49.09 respectively at the end of the 2012 season. That year, Lorenz’s coaching helped the Buckeyes reach the first national championship meet in since 1990.

Lorenz, with all of his experience in floor exercise, will likely find a kindred spirit in Duckworth, who has choreographed and coached a number of NCAA and SEC Champions on the apparatus in her career. Duckworth is also a two-time national champion on balance beam, recording a perfect 10 to win the 1993 championship.

Lorenz said he looks forward to bringing his expertise to the Crimson Tide.

“I feel privileged to be able to work alongside two of the best gymnastics coaches in the business in Dana Duckworth and Bryan Raschilla,” Lorenz said. “I always knew there was something special about Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama, but after seeing it firsthand, their tradition of excellence is unparalleled in college athletics, and I can’t wait to be part of this amazing University and athletic department.”