Alabama Gymnastics hires new assistant coach


Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

05-31-18 Staff WGY Headshot Ryan Roberts – Interviewee Photo by Amelia B. Barton 05-31-18 Staff WGY Headshot Ryan Roberts – Interviewee Photo by Amelia B. Barton

Ben Stansell

Although Alabama Gymnastics earned a 36th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance this past season, the Crimson Tide finished the year in an unfamiliar position: Watching as the final six teams competed for a national title on the second day of competition.

It was the third time in the past 27 seasons that Alabama did not advance past the first round.

Not long after the Crimson Tide returned to Tuscaloosa, head coach Dana Duckworth announced that she was not going to renew the contract of 22-year assistant coach Bryan Raschilla, a move that came as a surprise to many. Instead, Duckworth decided to invigorate the program with a new hire.

As of today, Duckworth announced that Ryan Roberts has officially joined her coaching staff as an assistant.

“Ryan is an outstanding addition to our coaching staff,” Duckworth said in a press release. “He is a sharp, highly respected coach with international and national elite experience who has high expectations for himself and his athletes. His gymnast-first philosophy encompasses not only performance, but the mental and physical well-being and long-term development of the total person as well.”

Duckworth said she is confident that Roberts will bring an impressive resume and wealth of international coaching experience with him to Tuscaloosa.

For the past five years, Roberts has worked with the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Frisco, Texas, where he coached members of the United States, Russian and Ecuadorian national teams. Prior to his time with WOGA, Roberts spent six years as the head coach of the Nedre Glomma Turn Gymnastics Club in Norway. Roberts also served as the Norwegian National Team head coach for numerous competitions. His career features a stint with West Coast Elite Gymnastics in California as well.

“I am very excited to be joining The University of Alabama gymnastics staff and look forward to working with Dana and Bill [Lorenz],” Roberts said in a press release. “I identify with Dana’s philosophy and vision for the team along with her passion to see her student-athletes be the best on the competition floor as well as be the best version of themselves outside the gym. I look forward to contributing to the culture of excellence at Alabama.”

Duckworth said Roberts’ vast experience will reinvigorate the program.

“In addition to his technical knowledge of the sport and professionalism, his diverse background, education, military and professional experience will make a huge difference for our gymnasts and staff,” Duckworth said.