Tiffany Simpson Reflects On HOF Induction
Nov. 26, 2012
By: Shon Purdy
SEATTLE - UW gymnast great and six-time All-American Tiffany Simpson was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame on Oct. 26. Simpson competed in gymnastics at the UW from 1996-1999 and in 2000. Her induction marks only the third time ever a woman gymnast has been inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame, the other two being Joyce Tanac Schroeder and Yumi Mordre. This year's induction class also included Husky football greats Dave Hoffman and Lawyer Milloy.
Simpson was not just handed the opportunity to compete at UW; she had to work very hard for it.
Ever since Simpson was a little girl, she had been interested in gymnastics. All throughout her years a kid, her mother coached gymnastics and owned a local gym. Going to the gym was a regular thing for the young Simpson.
"I was a gym rat during my childhood." said Simpson
Although she was raised as a gym rat, her road to becoming a Husky gymnast was not paved for her. Shortly after starting gymnastics, Simpson outgrew her mother's tutelage and started with another gymnastics coach. Simpson knew she wanted to pursue gymnastics by then.
Her family decided to move to Arizona in order to help Simpson pursue her sport. Arizona had a much better gym than the one in Florida. She soon became heavily recruited by Arizona State. She was convinced she would go there until high school when she actually decided to quit gymnastics. As a result, Arizona State lost all interest in Simpson.
Just because she quit high school gymnastics did not mean she stopped gymnastics all together. She practiced outside of school to keep her skills up. She kept training in the gym without competing. Other schools were still aware of Simpson; one being the University of Washington
"The Washington coach decided to take a chance on me...it was such a blessing."
Simpson's career at UW was nothing short of amazing. During her tenure she won countless conference and national honors. Just to name a few, she qualified for the NCAA Championships three times, won the 1997 Pac-10 vault championship, and scored three perfect 10s during her college career. Of all the awards, honors, and achievements Simpson won, she feels her greatest accomplishment was getting inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame.
"Getting inducted was an honor. Being an athlete at UW you realize that football is a royalty...to know that I was considered to be a Hall-of-Famer was incredible."
Simpson could not have achieved what she did without some help. Clay, one of her academic advisors, had an enormous impact on Simpson's UW career. During her fifth year at UW, Simpson was dealing with all the struggles of graduate school. She was also returning from a major surgery on her leg she suffered her senior year. It was no easy task for her to deal with these things while still competing on the gymnastics team.
"Clay was a huge support. He supported Tiffany the person, not just Tiffany the athlete."
Who better to give Simpson her jacket at the Hall of Fame ceremony than Clay and her teammates. In addition, all of her friends and family came from all across the country to the ceremony to support and praise Simpson's wonderful career.
"It was phenomenal to have Clay and my teammates induct me into the Husky Hall of Fame...coming back to the campus was incredible...it is such an amazing opportunity to represent the University."
Simpson deserves every bit of her spot in the Husky Hall of Fame. I am sure anyone who knows Simpson or watched her compete would say the same thing. She accomplished so much during her years at UW it would be impractical to list them all.
Simpson's impact on gymnastics did not stop after her years at UW or her induction into the Husky Hall of Fame. She has been coaching gymnastics for a while now, and currently coaches in Wyoming. She has four children and three of them are currently training in gymnastics.