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Friday, July 25, 2014 | Last updated: 4:18am

Postseason is nothing new for Gymcats' head coach



Sporting a bright pink collared shirt, Arizona women’s gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden is always an easy find at meets. He is constantly encouraging and getting the gymnasts motivated for every rotation, especially in the postseason for their upcoming meet.

“The goal first and foremost is to qualify onto the finals,” Ryden said. “Then the secondary goal is for us to have a great competition and put on our best gymnastics and not leave any tenths on the floor.”

Ryden has coached the Gymcats for the last 16 years. Over the last 28 years, the Gymcats have made the postseason every year. Experience is of no concern to Ryden. During his coaching tenure at Arizona, he has coached in 22 Pac-10/12 Conference Championship meets and 18 NCAA Championships.

Ryden understands the pressures involved in being a gymnast. He competed both nationally and internationally for ASU from 1978 to 1983. During his senior season, he was ranked second in the nation on the horizontal bar. He said he understands that when one gymnast struggles, it can bring down an entire team.

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By Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat
Arizona gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden has led the Gymcats for 16 seasons. Arizona will compete in the postseason for the 28th year in a row this Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

“The gymnasts put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform for the team, and when it doesn’t happen, they can definitely run into the case of being down,” Ryden said. “We let them know that everybody is still behind them and that they still have a job to do and pick up their role the next time they are out there.”

The Gymcats may need to bring all of Ryden’s experience and the team’s determination into the Baton Rouge Regional as they face LSU, Stanford, Auburn, Kent State and Iowa State this Saturday.

Ryden can use his experience to help the Gymcats stay focused in order to advance to the NCAA National Championships.

“We have known that we would get to the postseason pretty early on, so we have been sort of working on them mentally and I think … they have really stepped up,” Ryden said. “In the Pac-12 meet, going one at a time, television cameras in your face, it is going to be nerve-racking. We have been going all year and putting them into situations so that they would be prepared for this time.”

— Follow Matt Wall @mwall20


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