Aug. 23, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona women's gymnastics Head Coach Bill Ryden has announced that school record holder and former UA All-American Randi Acosta has joined the program as an assistant coach.
Acosta (formerly Liljenquist), competed at Arizona from 1999-2002, turning in on of the most accomplished careers of any Wildcat gymnast. During her four years of competition, Acosta was a four-time All-Pac-10 gymnast and garnered two All-American awards. Additionally, she was the 2002 Pac-10 champion on the floor exercise and was named the NCAA Regional Gymnast of the Year that same season.
"Randi was a unique student-athlete to coach," Ryden said. "She broke out her sophomore year and just continued to rise as a star for the program. Her style and performance caught eyes right away. I'm fortunate enough to coach incredible athletes, but she is one of the best dancers and overall performers that I have ever seen."
Acosta holds the school record in the all-around with a 39.775, in addition to perfect 10.0 marks on the balance beam and floor exercise (twice). She is the only UA gymnast to achieve such a score on beam and one of only three in program history to do so in the floor exercise.
A native of Tucson who graduated from Canyon del Oro High School, Acosta bolsters an impressive coaching and choreography background as well, working at Desert Devil's as an optional level beam and floor coach for several years. She also coached at renowned Olympic Coach Bella Karoli's yearly camp.
"When the job became available, Randi was the first person I called," Ryden said. "She was very established up in Phoenix, so I didn't know if she would pick up and move down. I told her exactly what I needed, and that she fit the bill perfectly. Randi bleeds red and blue, and to have someone so talented want to be part of this program is a dream come true."
Ryden believes that Acosta's background as a highly successful UA gymnast combined with years of experience as a coach will fit perfectly with the program that has reached the NCAA Regional Championships in 24 consecutive seasons.
Acosta also sees the job as a perfect fit and something she has kept in mind for years.
"I have always kept my eye on the job," Acosta said. "Being an assistant coach at Arizona was a dream position for me. I always wanted to coach the team; it was more of a question of when I would get the chance and not so much about if I would get the chance. When Bill talked to me about the job I was excited. This is my passion."
Acosta will join Ryden and Assistant Coach John Court, who have worked together at the school for 13 seasons, as the staff looks to continue a long tradition of excellence in the sport.
"I can't wait to see them succeed, make the best of their careers and be proud of what they've done," Acosta said of coaching the Wildcats. "I want them to stand out. They work hard and deserve the recognition.
"I'm also very excited to be able to coach alongside Bill and John," she added. "As an athlete you look up to your coaches, and they are both so amazing at what they do. I feel honored to be able to work in this position."
The Wildcats began the fall semester on Monday and will begin working towards the 2011 season, which begins in January.
Randi's Top Scores as a Wildcat
* school record