Tim Garrison enters his fourth season as the University of Kentucky gymnastics head coach after leading the team to unprecedented success in his first three seasons.
In 2014, Garrison led the Wildcats to a 6-1 home record, its best mark at Memorial Coliseum since 1991, a school-record NCAA Regional score for the second consecutive season and an individual appearance at the NCAA Championships.
With an upset win over No. 11 Auburn, UK scored a 196.275, the fifth-best team score in program history. The Wildccats totaled two scores that mark in the top 10 all-time and four in the top 20 in school history.
Along with a school-record NCAA Regional score of 195.925, senior Audrey Harrison tied for the win on balance beam. The win qualified Harrison for the NCAA Championships, marking UK's first appearance at the national championship meet since 2010.
Kentucky had a record-setting 2013 campaign that saw numerous school records fall. UK earned a ninth-consecutive NCAA Regional bid with a school-record regional qualifying score of 196.06 after breaking the team best score twice. A 196.775 in the regular season finale at Penn State bested the previous high score, set earlier in the season at Ball State.
The Wildcats notched three wins against SEC opponents, the most in program history and earned a 3-3-1 league mark, also a school best. All three wins were against teams ranked in the top 15, with two over top-nine foes. In postseason play, UK tallied the program's highest-ever NCAA Regional team score of 195.575 and finished fourth at the regional.
The Kentucky gymnastics team wrapped up a historic 2013 season by claiming the prestigious "Team of the Year Award" at the annual CATSPY Awards along with two individual awards. Garrison was named Coach of the Year alongside baseball coach Gary Henderson and rifle coach Harry Mullins, while sophomore Shannon Mitchell picked up the Scratch Award, given to the top non-scholarship student-athlete.
The Wildcats finished 2012 with three consecutive scores of 195.875 or higher, Kentucky's best-ever three meet stretch. UK also sealed the first winning regular season since 2008 in Garrison's first campaign.
Garrison guided the Wildcats to a final No. 25 ranking with a National Qualifying Score of 390.240 in 2012. The ranking made Garrison the first head coach in school history to take his team to a top-25 final ranking in his first season.
The Wildcats earned back-to-back victories over top-25 teams when UK took down Southeastern Conference foe Auburn at home and highly ranked Illinois on the road midway through the season. The Wildcats also posted just the 10th score of 196 or higher in school history with a 196.025 against George Washington and Ball State during Garrison's inaugural season.
Kentucky begins the 2013 season with a No. 25 preseason ranking.
"Tim Garrison is a great fit for this university and our gymnastics program," UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in a release announcing the hire. "Tim has all of the essentials that we look for in a head coach and he knows what it takes to get this program to the next level. During his time at Nebraska, he helped lead the program to three NCAA national competitions and two Super Six appearances. He is a terrific person and I look forward to the success that he will have here at the University of Kentucky.
Garrison arrived at UK after helping the Huskers reach new heights with two NCAA Super Six appearances and two Big 12 Conference championships. The native of Conroe, Texas, served as the Huskers' vault, floor exercise and strength and conditioning coach, while also helping in all facets of recruiting.
In his five years at Nebraska, Garrison was responsible for producing 10 NCAA All-Americans, while his vault and floor teams consistently ranked as one of the top-10 teams in the nation. In 2011, Garrison helped lead the Huskers back to the NCAA Super Six Finals, where they matched their best finish in school history, finishing fourth. Two of Garrison's vault performers ended the individual finals in the top five, while two other gymnasts were in the top 12 on floor.
In his first year on the job in Lincoln in 2007, Garrison's vault team finished sixth in the nation, while the floor squad was in the top five of the final rankings. In 2009, Nebraska was ranked sixth nationally on floor and in 2010 the Huskers were fifth on vault. Garrison's vault and floor teams had an excellent season in 2011 with the Huskers finishing among the nation's best on vault (third) and floor (seventh). Nebraska made the NCAA Tournament in each of Garrison's five years, advancing to nationals three times.
Prior to Nebraska, Garrison developed a reputation as one of the most successful club coaches in the country, serving as a head coach for SCEGA Gymnastics in Temecula, Calif., for 10 years. SCEGA Gymnastics is one of the largest and most thriving gymnastics teams in the nation. While with SCEGA, Garrison produced 27 national champions, 10 Junior Olympic National Team members and four Elite National Team members. For his efforts, Garrison was named Coach of the Year for Southern California by USA Gymnastics a impressive five times, including four consecutive from 2001-04.
In 2001, Garrison coached Rachel Tidd to the World Championships in Ghent, Belgium, where she captured a team bronze medal and finished eighth on beam. A year earlier, Garrison coached Tidd to a 10th-place showing in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Garrison spent three years at SCATS Gymnastics in Huntington Beach, Calif., where he was responsible for conditioning and meet preparation for a group of optional and compulsory gymnasts. During his time there, Garrison produced a national qualifier every year at both the Junior Olympic National Championships and the Elite Classic competitions. Garrison also coached at Karolyi's Gymnastics in Houston, Texas, alongside famed former U.S. Olympic Team coach Bela Karolyi.
Garrison and his wife, Rachel, served as the directors for the Nebraska School of Gymnastics during their time in Lincoln. The duo successfully increased the enrollment in the program from 40 participants to over 170 members. Garrison also was named the USAG Coach of the Year in 2009 for Nebraska.
Garrison graduated from California State University at Fullerton in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. The Garrisons have three daughters: Rayley, Taige and Teagan; and one son: Reece.
The Garrison File
Personal Birth Date: Aug. 5, 1970 Hometown: Conroe, Texas Family: Rachel (wife); Rayley (14), Taige (9) and Teagan (8) (daughters); Reece (1) (son) Parents: David and Lora Garrison Date Hired at UK: April 28, 2011
Education High School: Oak Ridge High School (Conroe, Texas) College: California State University at Fullerton, B.S., Physical Education, 1995 - Graduated with honors in physical education - Full athletics scholarship from 1994-95
Collegiate Coaching Career 2011-Current: Kentucky Head Coach 2006-11: Nebraska Assistant Coach 1992-94: Cal State Fullerton Assistant Coach
Club Coaching Career 2006-11: Nebraska School of Gymnastics (Lincoln, Neb.) 1996-06: SCEGA Gymnastics (Temecula, Calif.) 1994-96: SCATS Gymnastics (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Notables - Responsible for producing 10 NCAA All-Americans at Nebraska - Helped lead Nebraska to the NCAA Tournament every season, including two Super Six appearances and two Big 12 Championships - Was a five-time USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year for Southern California (1999, 2001, 02, 03, 04) while at SCEGA Gymnastics where he produced 27 national champions, 10 Junior Olympic National Team members and four Elite National Team members - Was a personal coach at the 2000 Olympic trials in Boston, Mass., and 2011 World Championships in Ghent, Belgium - USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2009 for Nebraska (club)