Former Gymnastics Standout Hite Named Assistant Coach

Aug. 18, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Former University of Kentucky gymnastics standout Heather Hite will return to her alma mater as assistant coach this season. Hite competed for the Wildcats for four years and was one of the program's most exceptional balance beam and floor exercise performers.

"You watch Heather and you can just see her leadership skills and how much respect she garnered from the athletes last year," head coach Mo Mitchell said. "I'm really excited to have her stay with our program. There are some pros and cons; for one she's a little young, but on the other hand she has some experience beyond her years. I just think that it's a small change that is going to make a major difference. She's young, enthusiastic, excited and wants this season to be perfect. The athletes who competed with her can look at her and see that she knows what she is talking about because she got it done when she competed for UK."

Hite has many other credentials than just her outstanding career as a member of the Kentucky squad. She has previous coaching experience (2006-present) from All-American Gymnastics, training all levels of gymnasts and choreographing floor routines. Hite also has 16 years of dance experience, studying ballet, tap and jazz, which will be invaluable to the development of the Wildcats' beam and floor routines.

During her senior season in 2009, Hite ranked as high as No. 16 on the beam while also reaching national status on the floor. Last year she competed in every meet for the Cats while leading UK 13 times on the balance beam and eight times on the floor exercise, recording season highs of 9.925 on both events. The senior captain's leadership helped guide the team to the program's second-best beam score in school history while in Anchorage, Alaska, with a 49.300.

Two of Hite's finest career performances came in 2007 as a sophomore when she recorded a 9.950 on beam and floor, becoming the first Wildcat since 13-time All-American selection Jenny Hansen did so in 1996. Both marks were earned within six days of one another.

Hite ended her career with 27 event titles, 14 on beam and 13 on floor. While at Kentucky, Hite was a two-time Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll selection, was named the 2006 CATSPY Female Rookie of the Year and inducted into the Frank G. Ham Society of Character in 2008.

"It is amazing to be able to stay at Kentucky," Hite said. "I love Lexington. I loved every experience I had as a gymnast here. I am so happy I get to stay where I've been for the past four years because that is why I chose this school in the first place. They are such a great athletic department, a great team and have great coaches all the way around, and I want to be a part of that. I came to UK to accomplish a goal of going to nationals and we didn't quite make it there while I was on the team. Therefore, I want to reach that goal as a coach and help those girls go on to the next level of competition. I feel like I still have work to do here."

Hite graduated from UK in the summer of 2009 with a degree in kinesiology. She is the daughter of Roger and Pam Hite who reside in Parkersburg, W. Va.