May 23, 2012
BERKELEY - University of California Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour has announced that Danna Durante has resigned her position as head women's gymnastics coach. A national search will begin immediately to find a successor.
"I would like to thank Danna for her time in helping build our women's gymnastics program," Barbour said. "Danna emphasized a solid balance between academics and athletics and helped lay the groundwork for future success. We are appreciative of her strong leadership and for moving us in a great direction. We have begun a national search for a head coach who exemplifies the mission, vision and values of Cal Athletics, and I am certain we will find the right person to fill the position."
"It is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as head coach here at Cal," said Durante, who has accepted the same position at the University of Georgia. "I want to thank Sandy Barbour and the administration for this tremendous opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and feel I leave this program on strong footing for a bright future. This was a tough decision for me with a strong lineup returning and a lot of interest in the program from elite gymnasts around the nation. We accomplished a lot and I will sincerely miss the girls and all that they achieved both inside and outside the gym."
In one season at Cal, Durante orchestrated measureable improvement in the women's gymnastics program as the Golden Bears posted an average score nearly a full point higher than the previous year. Cal recorded its highest score since 2007 with a mark of 194.724 against Stanford inside Haas Pavilion. Two gymnasts competed at the NCAA Regionals, including all-arounder Madisyn O'Brien and beam specialist Nicolette Lew, who both return next season. Under Durante's tutelage, 23 personal records were set by Cal gymnasts in 2012. In the classroom, eight gymnasts earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors, including Alicia Asturias, Alexandra Leggitt, Arla Rosenzweig, Lina Nilsson, Chelsea Spomer, Stina Olivere, Carol Chang and Dallas Crawford.
With a challenging schedule that included top-25 opponents in each of its final seven competitions, Cal's young squad gained valuable experience that will serve well for a promising future in Berkeley. The Bears return all but two gymnasts in 2013, including Leilani Alferos, who sat out this past season after transferring from Oregon State. Cal also welcomes incoming signee Serena Leong to the program next winter.
Durante, who was the Associate Head Coach at the University of Nebraska prior to coming to Berkeley, took over the Cal program on May 5, 2011 from Cari DuBois, the Golden Bears' head coach for nine seasons before her retirement at the conclusion of the 2011 season.