Head Gymnastics Coach Joanne Bowers
Joanne Bowers will enter her seventh year at the helm of the Washington women's gymnastics program in 2012-13. Bowers has brought the Washington gymnastics program back into the national spotlight, taking the team to the NCAA West Regionals in each of her first six seasons after the Huskies missed out in 2006 for the first time in school history. She has also sent individuals to NCAA Nationals in five of her six seasons ('07, '08, '10, '11, '12), the first Huskies to compete at nationals since 2004.
2012 saw the Huskies host the NCAA Seattle Regional. UW finished third after leading LSU heading into the final rotation, just missing out on a bid to Nationals. Sophomore Aliza Vaccher once again advance to the NCAA Nationals individually in the all-around. The Huskies were in the rankings much of the season, finishing up the year tied for 18th.
In 2011 Bowers said goodbye to her first recruiting class of Haley Bogart, Kristen Linton and Samantha Walior. These three along with Bowers completely changed the program and set a new standard for Husky Gymnastics. The 2011 team accomplished things that UW gymnastics hadn't seen in years. For the second-straight year UW was in the top 25 pre-season poll coming in at No. 21. In week three, UW was No. 16, the highest every under Bowers. But UW didn't stop there. They kept rising in the polls all the way to No. 11 in the first RQS rankings. In the final team poll they were 18th. At the Pac-10 Championships, the Huskies tied for their best finish ever at the meet, third, upsetting No. 3 Stanford with a 196.025.
One of the team goals on the season was to be ranked in the top 18 and seeded for regionals. UW accomplished that goal and was headed to the Norman, Okla., Regional as the No. 3 seed. The Huskies led powerhouse Utah by .250 heading into the fourth rotation but two falls on beam lifted the Utes into the final automatic spot to the NCAA Championships. UW was so close to making NCAAs for the first time since 1998. Freshman Aliza Vaccher advanced to the NCAA Championships in the all-around by finishing second at regionals and hit all four of her events, tying for 19th, just shy of earning All-American honors.
In 2010, Bowers helped send two Huskies to the NCAA Championships as Linton and Walior became the first Husky duo since 2003 to go to Nationals. The two tied for the title on the floor exercise at the NCAA Regional. The Huskies finished with a 5-9 overall record and faced seven of the 12 teams throughout the season that competed at Nationals. Bowers also led the Huskies to a fifth place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. In the national rankings, the Huskies got up to as high as No. 21.
The 2009 season saw the Huskies finish fourth in the Pac-10 Championships, their best finish in six years. The team advanced to the NCAA West Regionals - which they hosted - and finished fifth. Bowers was named the West Region Co-Head Coach of the Year for her efforts. In 2008, Bowers took her team to its second consecutive NCAA West Regional. The Huskies improved on their 2007 finish, earning fourth place with a score of 194.075 and ended the season with a team ranking of 27th in the country. Bowers also sent her second straight individual gymnast to the NCAA Championships when freshman Bogart was selected to compete in Athens, Ga. In her first season at UW, Bowers guided the Huskies back to the NCAA West Regional, where they placed fifth, one year after missing the Regional for the first time in program history. Bowers also helped guide the individual efforts of Chelsea Bakken (Class of 2007), who became the first Husky to compete at the NCAA Championships since 2004. For her efforts, Bowers became the third UW coach - and just the third first-year coach in conference history - to earn Pac-10 Coach of the Year. She was also named West Region Coach of the Year at the 2007 NCAA West Regional.
Bowers was named the fifth Washington women's gymnastics head coach on June 7, 2006. She arrived in Seattle from Ann Arbor, where she had spent the previous five seasons as a highly-successful assistant coach at the University of Michigan. Bowers helped lead the Wolverines to a seventh-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships in her final campaign with the team. During Bowers' five seasons with the Wolverines, Michigan went to the NCAA Championships every year and won four Big Ten Championships.
Bowers, who focused primarily on floor exercise and balance beam for Michigan, coached six individual All-Americans on beam and seven on floor. In addition, she tutored individuals to Big Ten Championships on beam and floor four times during her tenure. Prior to joining the Michigan staff, Bowers spent four years as an assistant at Kent State University, helping lead the Golden Flashes to a Mid-American Conference championship in 2001. For her efforts, she earned Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors from the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastic Coaches for Women (NACGC).
Bowers graduated from James Madison University with a physical education degree in 1982. She was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain of the women's gymnastics team while at JMU. Bowers went on to obtain her master's degree in education with a minor in administration and supervision from Austin Peay State University in 1985. Following graduation, she coached various club teams in the Midwest and on the East Coast and spent time as a gymnastics judge. From 1990-93, Bowers was the head women's gymnastics coach at Illinois State University, where she coached individuals to NCAA Regional berths. Bowers returned to coaching club teams and judging gymnastics before joining Kent State in 1997. Bowers and her husband, John, have two sons, David and Ross.