Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gymnastics: Coach Williams Named US World Team Head Coach

USA Gymnastics has announced that Oklahoma head men’s gymnastics coach Mark Williams will be the head coach of the US National Team at the upcoming World Championships in Nanning, China from October 3-12.

“It’s always an honor to represent the US at international competitions,” said Williams. “I’ve had quite a few guys who have been on World and Olympic teams in the past 25 years while coaching at OU. I’ve gained quite a bit of experience having coached at 16 World or Olympic events. I hope this experience will help this group compete for a team, world medal.”

Williams is no stranger to working with the US National Team, as the OU coach served as the head coach of the US World Championship team in 2006 and was an assistant coach for the US Olympic squad at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. And with the bronze medal 2011 World Championships team in Tokyo. Williams believes the veteran 2014 team has a much better opportunity to medal than the young squad he led in 2006.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Williams. “I was a part of the 2006 team but it was young and did not have much returning experience. Expectations are higher this time around. We are hoping and expecting to be on the podium this year.”

The six members of the US World Championships team heading to China are OU-alum Jake Dalton, Sam Mikulak, John Orozco, Danell Leyva, Alex Naddour and Donnel Whittenburg. This team boasts four Olympians in Dalton, Mikulak, Orozco and Leyva and is determined to improve upon the fifth place finish the team managed the last time the US competed in a team competition at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Four of the six guys on this team have been at World Championships in the past,” said Williams. “We have a team with experience and World Championship medalists with Orozco on the parallel bars, Dalton on floor and Leyva on parallel bars. Four of the six medaled for the US at the 2011 World Championships in Japan. Expectations are high, we expect to compete for individual and team medals.”

Another exciting recent announcement for OU fans is Jake Dalton was selected as the team captain for the World Championships team.

The conclusion of the World Championships will air on NBC on Saturday, October 11 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, October 12 at 2 p.m. on a tape-delay due to the time differential.

Get inside looks at the Sooners in Colorado Springs by liking the OU Men’s Gymnastics Facebook page and by following the team on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @OU_MGymnastics.

/// SoonerSports PR
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