Less than two days after hiring Billy Donovan’s replacement, Florida has found its new women’s gymnastics coach.
Auburn associate head coach Jenny Rowland has been hired to replace Rhonda Faehn, UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley announced Saturday. She will be the seventh head coach in school history, inheriting a program that has won three-consecutive national championships.
“I’m so excited for this opportunity to become the Gator gymnastics head coach,” Rowland said in a release. “Obviously, Rhonda (Faehn) has built Gator gymnastics into a model program. A key focus for me will be developing relationships with the current and past Gators, as well as building a connection with the gymnasts who will represent the Gators in the future.
“Jeremy Foley, Lynda Tealer and I all share a vision of continued success for Gator gymnastics. I look forward to working with this tremendous group of Gators and being a part of the Florida program.”
“When we started this search, there was one name that kept coming up — Jenny Rowland,” Foley said in the release. “What Auburn has done over the past few seasons is quite impressive and she’s played a big role in the Tigers’ progress. We feel confident she’s ready to guide the Gator program.
“She wants Gator gymnasts to thrive in all aspects of their student-athletic career — in the classroom, in the competitive arena and in developing the life skills to be successful following college. She knows what (it) is like to be a competitor on the national, international and collegiate stages. She has what it takes to be a successful recruiter as she’s built relationships with so many in the gymnastics world.
“We welcome Jenny, her husband, Garon and their daughters Ella and Emmy, to the Gator program.”
Rowland has been a part of Auburn’s staff since 2010 and was named the 2015 Co-Assistant Coach of the Year. She helped lead the Tigers to their first Super Six in 22 years and the second-best finish in school history after earning sixth place in the competition.
In 2013, Rowland was promoted to the role of Associate Head Coach, giving her a larger role with regards for recruiting and coaching in the gym. She served as the team’s lead balance beam coach and was heavily involved with the construction of the Tigers’ floor routines.
Before joining Auburn, Rowland served as a gymnastics judge for four years, both nationally and internationally. Prior to that, she spent five years as an assistant coach at Oklahoma.
In her own gymnastics career, Rowland competed on the U.S. National Team from 1985-1990 and was a part of the 1989 World Championships Team. Collegiately, she was an All-American at Arizona State.
Rowland has big shoes to fill.
During Faehn’s 13-year tenure, Florida won the aforementioned three national titles, four Southeastern Conference titles and finished in the top five nationally ten times. The top 10 team scores in school history were all recorded under Faehn’s watch, and 34 gymnasts combined for 142 All-America honors, including nine NCAA individual titles in the last five seasons.
On April 24, Faehn announced she would step down as head coach to become the senior vice president of USA gymnastics.
Follow Graham Hack on Twitter @graham_hack24
Rhonda Faehn watches her team compete during Florida's win against Georgia on Jan. 30. UF hired Faehn's replacement on Saturday.