When you know, you know. It’s really a tranquil feeling when you absolutely know that you are making the right decision. Being able to walk away from a coaching career on my own terms, fully knowing it’s the right time is one of the final gifts I will receive from my time as UCLA’s head gymnastics coach.
In the sports world it’s not often you get to walk away under your own circumstances. When it comes to coaching gymnastics, I have experienced and achieved more than I ever could have dreamed.
Right now it feels like I’m in the eye of the storm. There has been a whirlwind of activity that has surrounded these past eight months. However, in my space it’s actually quiet. That quiet and calm comes from knowing this is the right time, having had time to relish another year of developing deeper relationships and learning … always learning. And… being able to craft each day so as not to have any regrets.
My overarching goal every year is to have no regrets. At the end of the National Championships, regardless of whether we win another championship title or not, I want to be able to reflect with no regrets. In my 29 years as a head coach, that hasn’t always been the case, but it is something I strive for chalking up daily tally’s along the way.
I know my time as the leader of UCLA Gymnastics is almost over. Knowing has encouraged me to make the conscious choice to soak in every single moment. I’ve intentionally held hugs a little longer. I’ve expressed my appreciation louder. I’ve been humbled by the kind words and support from our community that has grown over the years. And I’ve intentionally taken many moments to observe, reflect and appreciate.
These past few days it’s all starting to hit me and I find myself praying, wishing, hoping that we’ll win another championship. Yes, it would be wonderful to cap off my career with one more Natty, however in my quiet time I also admit that selfishly I’d love to win just one more because it will extend my time at UCLA just a wee bit longer. Championships guarantee not just an awards ceremony, but then a ring ceremony, and recognition at football, basketball and other UCLA events in the fall and throughout the following year. Yes… I’d really like that. ~
I’d like to be able to come back to UCLA and represent just a little longer as I solidify my role as a cheerleader and advocate.
Heading to Fort Worth for the National Championships, we have prepared well to challenge for the national title that will be earned this weekend. However it turns out, unless I make a bonehead decision these next few days… I will be able to end my coaching career with no regrets. Or, as our team creed stated years ago, No Outs. No Doubts. No Excuses.
I have immensely enjoyed representing UCLA these past 37 years, and I’m grateful I am able to hand off a thriving program to the next leader. I’m doing it now because I still have a tremendous amount of energy to strive toward fresh goals I want to accomplish. I’m not walking away from coaching as much as I’m waltzing toward new creative opportunities.
I’m hopeful my new endeavors will bring me back to the theatre and allow me to expand into film. Looking forward I’m excited to step on the UCLA campus in the future with fresh eyes and a warm feeling in my heart. After all, the UCLA campus is my home. Pauley Pavilion is my home. Yates gym in the John Wooden Center is where I grew up. The Bruins are my family. I am forever grateful.
The biggest Win you had in yout carrer is that you have changed the live of so many students and people around the world, and made them 1% better each day. Thanks Miss Val for building up the amazing UCLA gymnastics program to the best they could be. Greetings from Germany and lots of love
Kudos to you for leaving on your own terms. I wish you all the best and much success in your future endeavors!! I admire your coaching the person first and your way of making each team member feel special. Such a rarity in sports these days. Thank you and good luck!!
You are a wonderfull person❤️