Alumni Update: Austin grad is now a gymnastics head coachPublished 8:57pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013
When Austin grad Shannon Doyle walked into the Austin YMCA this past Saturday, she might as well have been walking into a time machine.
Doyle, who graduated from Austin in 2007, is in her first year as head coach the Prairie Du Chien High School gymnastics team in Wisconsin and she was in the YMCA to have her new team work out with her old one.
Doyle was a little surprised to some familiar faces in the gym who have grown into some pretty good gymnasts on an Austin team that took fifth in state in two of the past three years.
“It’s weird because the girls I see here now are the girls I helped coach when they were five years old and they were little girls,” Doyle said. “Now they’re all grown up and they’re throwing crazy, good stuff. It’s different.”
Doyle, who spent eight years competing in gymnastics, made it to the state meet in floor exercise her junior and senior years. Austin head coach Mark Raymond said he always felt Doyle had the potential to coach her own gymnastics team.
“I think it was a forgone conclusion that she would be teaching, but I don’t think she saw her self as a gymnastics coach,” Raymond said. “She probably thought she’s be more of a diving coach because she was an excellent diver. But I always kind of saw it and she had the ability to do it.”
Doyle started coaching youth gymnastics when she was 14-years old and she did plenty of coaching while she was in college before taking over at Prairie Du Chien. With her new squad, Doyle is basically starting from scratch as she has just seven gymnasts on the team and none of them had any experience before they entered middle school.
“We’re rebuilding. It’s a small town and a small school with no club program,” Doyle said. “They’re learning a lot of new things.”
Doyle thought coaching would be time consuming but she’s found herself enjoying it so far. She’s even entertaining the possibility of sticking with it and building a program.
“It was a little overwhelming at first,” she said. “ I didn’t realize how involved I’d be. I’m having a good time with it and I wouldn’t want to leave the girls I’ve been working with.”
Raymond enjoyed sharing coaching strategies with Doyle on Saturday and he said his team showed the Prairie Du Chien squad some good things to work on.
He also said that Doyle is always welcome in his gym.
“I’ve always told her I’d love to have her on staff if she ever came back to the area,” Raymond said.