By Ryan Kaczmarski
The National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) Coaches Association has selected Magnificat head gymnastics coach Joe Gura to receive its highest honor as 2011 Coach of the Year for Ohio.
“It’s a great honor,” Gura said. “I feel very proud. I’ve coached (at Magnificat) for 21 years, and I’ve been very fortunate to have some very talented athletes and some ladies that work very hard to make me look good.”
Gura’s teams have qualified for the state championships in every year he has been coach, winning 10 state titles and placing runner-up six times, third place four times (including last year) and fourth place once.
Although the Blue Streaks did not win the state title, last year’s team was a nice surprise.
“I think last year the girls performed better than anybody anticipated,” Gura said. “We took third in state and (we) weren’t expected (to finish) that high. I think that was one of the determining factors (in receiving the award).”
“He is so well-respected, not only by the Magnificat community, but by the entire communtiy of gymnastics,” Magnificat athletic director Rhonda Rickelman said. “He has taken gymnastics to a whole other level in the state of Ohio, and with our girls, you couldn’t ask for anything better. Look at all of the championship banners (hanging in the gym). They are all about him.”
Magnificat head cross country coach Anjanette Arabian Whitman was also selected as 2011 Coach of the Year by the NFHS. She will be profiled during the upcoming track and field season.