Gymnastics fills vacant coach spot

An interim coach will take over after the old one resigned after investigations of her behavior.

David Nelson

The University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics team is under new leadership following the resignation of former head coach Meg Stephenson, who left Aug. 28 after federal and school investigations into her behavior with team members.

On Tuesday, athletics director Norwood Teague officially named Jenny Hansen the interim head coach for the 2014-15 season. She has served as a coach for the team since 2007, and she has helped lead the program following Stephenson’s resignation.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this program as it is one I have great passion for as both an alumna and member of the coaching staff,” Hansen said in a release. “I’m looking forward to a season of continued success.”

The promotion follows a year of changing leadership for the program. Former volunteer assistant coach Jim Stephenson — Meg Stephenson’s husband — resigned last fall amid a school-led investigation into his behaviors with team members, some of whom allege he sexually harassed gymnasts.

“After careful consideration, this department felt the need to make a change to women’s gymnastics for the good of the students and the program,” Teague said in an Aug. 28 release following Stephenson’s resignation.

Hansen competed for the Gophers from 2000 to 2003. As a competitor, Hansen placed fifth at the 2003 NCAA regional championships with a career-high score on vault of 9.850.

Her 9.925 score on balance beam ranked third at the time among Gophers gymnasts.

As assistant head coach, Hansen focused on the vault, as well as beam and floor routines.

The women’s gymnastics team is just a year and a half removed from a trip to NCAA championships.

Juniors Lindsay Mable and Hanna Nordquist competed for NCAA individual titles last season. The Gophers will look to build upon that success this season.