Larissa Libby enters her 14th year as head coach, and 18th year overall, at the University of Iowa in 2017-18.
During the 2017 season, Libby was named Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year. Libby led the team to a No. 18 national ranking and an overall record of 25-11, with a conference mark of 13-5. At the Big Ten Championships, the GymHawks finished third and recorded the best championship score in program history with a 196.725. Libby led the team to qualify for the Champaign NCAA Regional, where they finished third with a score of 196.050. At the NCAA Regionals, the GymHawks set the school record on beam with a rotation score of 49.600 — shattering the previous record of 49.425. Freshman Clair Kaji and senior Angel Metcalf finished on top of the podium in the event with season-bests of 9.950, which led them to advance to the NCAA Championships. Metcalf competed in the all-around (39.3100), while Kaji appeared as a specialist on beam (9.8625).
Under Libby’s guidance, the GymHawks complied a vast list of awards throughout the season. A record five gymnasts — seniors Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf, juniors Lanie Snyder and Melissa Zurawski, and freshman Clair Kaji — earned All-Big Ten honors. Drenth, Metcalf and Snyder were also named to the All-Championship Team. Zurawski was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 30, while Kaji and freshman Charlotte Sullivan each garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors twice. Outside the gymnasium, nine GymHawks were named to the All-Big Ten Academic Team — the most to receive this honor since 2010.
In 2016, Libby was named NCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year after coaching the GymHawks to one of the best seasons in program history with 10 wins and a No. 19 ranking, the program’s first top 20 ranking since 2011. The University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team was selected to host NCAA Regional Competition in Iowa City. Six GymHawks placed in the top 15 for individual events, leading Iowa to a fourth-place finish with a score of 195.450. Libby coached juniors Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf to be named part of the All-Championship team. Drenth was selected to compete at the NCAA Championship as an individual, where she garnered All-American honors by placing third on beam with a score of 9.9125. Libby is also responsible for the last Iowa gymnast to receive All-American honors (Alexis Mayday, 2004). At the Big Ten Championship, Libby coached the team to nine top 20 finishes and a fifth-place finish with a score of 195.875, and senior Alie Glover, Drenth, and Metcalf were named to the All-Big Ten Championship team for a second consecutive year. Libby also helped seniors Opua Calucag, Johanny Sotilo, and Glover and sophomores Lanie Snyder, Megan Ruzicka, and Nikki Youd to be named Academic All-Big Ten honorees.
In 2015, the GymHawks were selected for NCAA Regional competition, marking the program’s seventh postseason berth in the last eight years. Five GymHawks placed in the top 15 for individual events, leading Iowa to a fifth place regional finish and a score of 194.475. Libby coached the GymHawks to a season high score of 196.500 at the Big Ten Championships — the team’s best championship team result since 2010. Iowa’s performance also marked the highest team score for the program at the Big Ten Championships since March 20, 2004. Under Libby, Iowa was ranked in the top 25 for six consecutive weeks during the 2015 season. The GymHawks ended the season ranked No. 23 nationally, marking the program’s first Top 25 ranking since 2012. Libby led sophomores Mollie Drenth and Angel Metcalf, junior Alie Glover, and senior Sydney Hoerr, to earn spots on the All-Championship Team. Libby is also responsible for the only other gymnast named to the All-Championship Team (Emma Stevenson, 2012) in program history.
Libby coached Iowa to a close victory over its in-state rival 195.775- 195.175 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at the team’s home finale and Senior Night. The win marked the first time the Hawkeyes have topped the Cyclones since March 8, 2013. Overall, the GymHawks collected eight conference wins this season against Minnesota (twice), Maryland (twice), Rutgers (twice), Michigan State, and Ohio State. Last season, the GymHawks collected a single conference win against Michigan State at the Big Ten Championships on March 22, 2014. In addition to the team’s accomplishments, Libby coached senior Sydney Hoerr to Second Team All-Big Ten for the second year in a row, helped sophomore Mollie Drenth earn Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week — making Drenth the first to earn a weekly conference honor since Feb. 11, 2013, and led seniors Sydney Hoerr and Caitlin Tanzer, junior Opua Calucag, and sophomore Caroline McCrady to Academic All-Big Ten honors.
In 2014, six Hawkeyes were selected for NCAA Regional competition. Sophomore Alie Glover, freshman Angel Metcalf, and junior Sydney Hoerr were selected as all-around competitors, while freshman Jordyn Doherty was chosen to compete on vault and freshman Mollie Drenth competed on floor. Sophomore Maryah Huntley was selected as the alternate behind Drenth on floor. Libby coached junior Sydney Hoerr to second team All-Big Ten honors, while Hoerr, junior Caitlin Tanzer and sophomore Alie Glover earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Libby led Iowa to its sixth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance, the seventh in her tenure, during her ninth year as head coach in 2013. The Hawkeyes finished sixth in the Norman Regional, posting 194.475. In the regular season, Iowa clinched the Cy-Hawk Series, defeating Iowa State with a season-best, 196.375-194.575. Iowa was the only Big Ten team to down Minnesota, the regular season Big Ten Co-Champions. The Hawkeyes beat the Gophers, 195.725-195.550.
Under Libby’s guidance, Iowa finished its 2013 homestand undefeated. The Hawkeyes recorded their highest-ever average home attendance (1,414), drawing a season-high 2,303 fans against Iowa State. Iowa found success off the floor as well, as four GymHawks, Sydney Hoerr, Emma Stevenson, Kaitlynn Urano and Emma Willis, received Academic All-Big Ten honors.
In 2012, the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked 26th nationally, the highest finish since 2004. Libby coached Tesla Cox to second team All-Big Ten honors and Emma Stevenson to the Big Ten All-Championship Team. The Hawkeyes hosted the Big Ten Championships drawing a season-high attendance figure of 1,661. Stevenson scored a 9.875 on the floor exercise, and Iowa finished seventh as a team. Libby led the Hawkeyes to a fifth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. Iowa posted 194.600 and finished fifth at the Seattle Regional.
The Hawkeyes raised the streak to four-straight NCAA appearances in 2011 with a fifth place finish at the Corvallis Regional. This coming after a sixth place finish at the Big Ten Championships, and an overall season record of 11-6. Libby coached three All-Big Ten selections in Rebecca Simbhudas, Houry Gebeshian and Jessa Hansen. Simbhudas and Gebeshian also made individual appearances at the NCAA Championships as Simbhudas was named North Central Region Gymnast of the Year.
Libby led Iowa to a third place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, its best finish in six years. On top of another NCAA Regional berth, Libby also coached Houry Gebeshian to a Big Ten title on beam, just the second in program history. Gebeshian, Jessa Hansen and Rebecca Simbhudas were selected to the All-Big Ten team. Additionally, Simbhudas qualified as an individual for the NCAA Championships and earned All-American honors on beam.
In 2009, Libby led her squad to a 10-5 record and was named North Central Region Coach of the Year. Under her guidance, the GymHawks made accomplishments. The Whitby Sports Council, the hometown where Libby began her outstanding career, selected Libby to be inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on some of Canada’s greatest athletes.
In 2008, Libby coached the Hawkeyes to their first NCAA appearance since 2005 and a fifth place finish in the Big Ten Conference. For her accomplishments, Libby was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year. In addition to the multiple team and staff honors, Libby saw several GymHawks achieve standout seasons during the 2008 season. Jenifer Simbhudas was named first team All-Big Ten and Big Ten Gymnast of the Week twice. The accomplishments came off of the competitive floor as well. Five GymHawks were named Academic All-Big Ten and seven were named academic All-Americans.
In 2007, Libby led the Hawkeyes to a number of individual records. Katie Burke earned career-highs on vault, bars, floor, and in the all-around, ending a highly successful season with an NCAA Championship appearance. Kara Pinjuv, Jenifer Simbhudas, and Katie Turcotte all qualified to NCAA Regional competition. In addition to their NCAA success, Burke earned first team All-Big Ten honors, while Pinjuv, Turcotte, and Simbhudas all earned second team honors.
Prior to the 2007 season, Libby played a role in the Hawkeyes’ six consecutive seasons of NCAA Regional competition (2000-2005) and coached seniors Liz Grajewski and Kortny Williamson, as well as junior Danielle Legeai to individual regional competition in 2006.
Before becoming the UI head coach, Libby served as associate head coach for one season and assistant coach for the previous three seasons.
Before joining the Hawkeyes, Libby served four years as the assistant women’s coach at Louisiana State University, her alma mater. While at LSU, she produced nine beam All-Americans, the top-ranked beam team in 1999 and helped coach LSU to four consecutive NCAA championship team appearances.
As a competitive gymnast in her home country of Canada, Libby burst onto the scene at age 11, quickly becoming a junior national champion and a senior national champion shortly after. A member of the 1987 and 1989 Canadian world championship teams, Libby led the Canadian team to its best-ever sixth-place finish, placing 18th in the world in the all-around and becoming Canada’s first ever world vault finalist. Along with world recognition, Libby was also a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 1988. She has earned over 30 international individual and event medals and was honored as the Canadian Gymnast of the Year in 1989 and 1990. In 2006, Libby was honored for her many national and international accomplishments. The Whitby Sports Council, the hometown where Libby began her outstanding career, selected Libby to be inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on some of Canada’s greatest athletes.
Originally from Pickering, Canada, Libby was a collegiate gymnast at Louisiana State University. She was a four-year team captain and the Central Region bar champion in 1995. Libby graduated from LSU in 1996, with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a minor in French. Her husband, Chad, is the program director of athletic training at Coe College. The couple has two daughters, Taylor and Bailey.