- Rhonda Faehn
The impact Rhonda Faehn’s made on the University of Florida gymnastics program is undeniable. Now entering her 12th season as the Gators’ head coach, the program has:
- Claimed team’s first NCAA Championships (2013)
- Eight top-five NCAA Championship finishes
- Won four (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013) Southeastern Conference team titles
- Registered eight NCAA Region team titles
- Established the top-10 team scores in school history and each team event record
When she accepted the Florida head coaching position in the late spring of 2002, Faehn (pronounced FAIN) saw a program with the potential to firmly establish itself among the nation's elite. She's made that vision a reality, as the Gators perform an exciting and high-level of gymnastics that consistently competes with the nation's best and brings new fans to the O'Connell Center.
Florida’s 2013 NCAA title is among the eight top-five NCAA finishes earned by Faehn-led Gator teams. The NCAA title is the first for the Gators and Florida became just the fifth team in the 32-year history of event to win the team crown. Florida has advanced to the NCAA Super Six in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
The Gators claimed eight of their last nine NCAA Region team titles, with their 2005 NCAA Southeast Region title being UF's first since 1997.
Florida has returned to success in the SEC Championships under Faehn. In 2007, Florida won the SEC team title - the sixth in the program's history, but its first since 1989. The Gators repeated as SEC champions again in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Gator athletes have earned All-SEC accolades 34 times and 13 league individual titles went to Florida since 2007.
Under Faehn, 30 UF gymnasts have claimed a total of 116 All-America honors in NCAA competition. In the last three seasons, Gators have come away with six NCAA individual titles. In 2013, freshman Bridget Sloan won both the all-around and balance beam titles. Her all-around win was the second consecutive for the Gators as Kytra Hunter became the first Gator to win the NCAA all-around title in 2012. Gators took the vault titles in back-to-back seasons – Hunter (2012) and Marissa King (2011). Alaina Johnson won the Gators’ first NCAA uneven bars crown in 2013 as Florida’s three individual event titles in 2013 was a single season program high.
In the competitive arena, the Gators registered wins over some of the nation’s top teams during the last 11 years, including victories over Alabama, Georgia, UCLA and Utah. Faehn also found success on the recruiting trail, as her classes are regarded among the nation’s best, including the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes that drew the No. 1 ranking.
After leading the 2007 Gator team to the No. 1 position in 11 of the 12 regular-season ranking periods, Faehn was named the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (NACGC) Coach of the Year. She is a six-time recipient of the NACGC Southeast Region Gymnastics Coach of the Year. She shared the 2003 honor and was again named the winner in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Faehn picked up the SEC Coach of the Year honor six of her 11 seasons (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
Faehn took over in May of 2002 as the sixth head coach for the Gator program. She brought experience at the sports’ highest level to the Florida program. A member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team and an All-American while at UCLA, Faehn coached among the club and collegiate levels for nine years prior to joining UF.
Faehn joined the Florida program after spending four seasons (1999-02) at the University of Nebraska. She served as an assistant coach for the Huskers for three seasons before being elevated to Associate Head Coach in the fall of 2001. Four of the Huskers' five NCAA Super Six appearances were achieved with Faehn on the NU staff and during that time, the team twice posted Super Six finishes of fifth (2001 and '02) and took fourth at the 2000 event. The Cornhuskers also produced two-time NCAA champion Heather Brink during this period, when Brink claimed the NCAA all-around and vault crowns in 2000. Faehn was named the NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year in 2001. She also collected the South Central Assistant Coach of the Year honor in 2002 and shared the 2000 Region 3 Assistant Coach of the Year award. During her stay at NU, 11 athletes earned a total of 21 All-America awards.
She also was an assistant coach at the University of Maryland for the 1997 and '98 seasons. She was named the Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998 after playing a crucial role in the Terps qualifying for their first Southeast Regional meet in seven seasons. Maryland improved from 11-18 in her first season to 22-18 and a seventh-place Southeast Regional finish in 1998.
Prior to joining Maryland, Faehn was head coach at the Lanco Gymnastics Training Center in Lancaster, Pa., from 1994-96. At Lanco Gymnastics Training Center, Faehn organized a team program for levels four through 10. She was in charge of choreography for the beam and floor exercise and coached the level nine team to a state championship. Faehn has also served as a master staff member and clinician at the Woodward Gymnastics Camp in Woodward, Pa.
During her collegiate career at UCLA (1990-92), Faehn earned All-America second-team honors in both the all-around and balance beam at the 1992 NCAA Championships. She was a member of the 1992 All-Pacific-10 team and shared that season's conference uneven bars title. Faehn began her coaching career as a Bruins' student assistant from 1992-94. She graduated from UCLA in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in history.
Faehn's club gymnastics resume includes competitions at the sport's highest level. Faehn, the first alternate to the 1988 U.S. Olympic team, was a four-year member of the U.S. National Team (1985-88). She is the 1987 and '88 U.S. vault champion, scoring a perfect 10.0 at both the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials and the 1988 U.S. National Championships. In 1987, she was the highest U.S. finisher at the World Championships, placing 19th in the all-around. Faehn, who trained under world-famous coach Bela Karolyi, was a member of the U.S.'s gold-medal team at the 1987 Pan American Games, where she took eighth in the all-around and fourth in the vault.
In the summer of 2006, Faehn and Jeremy Bayon were married. They have two sons. Noah Émile Bayon was born in January of 2008 and Isaiah Freedom Bayon arrived in November of 2010. The family resides in Gainesville.
The University of Florida gymnastics team won its first NCAA Championship in 2013, becoming the fifth team in the 32-year history of the event to claim the team crown.
- 2013 NACGC Southeast Region Coach of the Year
- 2013 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
- 2012 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
- 2011 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
- 2011 NACGC Southeast Region Coach of the Year
- 2010 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
- 2010 NACGC Southeast Region Coach of the Year
- 2007 NACGC Coach of the Year
- 2007 SEC Coach of the Year
- 2007 NACGC Southeast Region Coach of the Year
- 2006 SEC Coach of the Year
- 2005 NACGC Southeast Region Coach of the Year
- 2003 NACGC Southeast Region Co-Coach of the Year
- 2002 South Central Assistant Coach of the Year
- 2001 NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year
- 2000 Region 3 Co-Assistant Coach of the Year
- 1998 Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year
- Head Coach, Florida (May of 2002-present)
- Associate Head Coach, Nebraska (2002)
- Assistant Coach, Nebraska (1999-2001)
- Assistant Coach, Maryland (1997-98)
- Head Coach, Lanco Gymnastics Training Center, Lancaster, Pa. (1994-96)
- Student Assistant Coach, UCLA (1992-94)
Bachelor’s Degree in History (UCLA, 1994)
- 1998 Minnesota Gymnastics Hall of Fame
- 1988 U. S. Olympic Gymnastics Team
- 1987 and 1988 U.S. Vault Champion
- 1987 Pan American Games Gold Medalist (U.S. Team)
- 1987 World Championships – highest U.S. finisher (19th)
- U.S. National Team Member (1985-88)
Place of Birth
Minneapolis, Minn. (Date of birth: April 28, 1971)
Married Jeremy Bayon in June of 2006
Sons: Noah Émile Bayon (born Jan. 8, 2008) & Isaiah Freedom Bayon (born November 24, 2010)
Date of Hire
May 8, 2002
|Florida Finishes Under Faehn||Faehn Record|
|Record (through SEC Championships)||Record (all meetings)|
|2003||3rd||2nd||7th||4 with 6 honors||27||5||0||84%||33||9||0||79%|
|2004||4th||2nd||5th||7 with 12 honors||16||9||0||64%||21||13||1||61%|
|2005||4th||1st||7th||1 with 1 honor||17||7||0||71%||24||10||0||71%|
|2006||3rd||1st||4th||4 with 6 honors||20||4||0||83%||30||9||0||77%|
|2007||1st||1st||3rd||6 with 15 honors||21||0||1||98%||32||4||1||88%|
|2008||T2nd||1st||4th||5 with 15 honors||12||3||1||77%||24||6||1||79%|
|2009||3rd||1st||4th||5 with 9 honors||10||6||0||63%||21||10||0||68%|
|2010||1st||1st||5th||7 with 11 honors||15||2||0||82%||25||7||0||78%|
|2011||2nd||2nd||7th||4 with 9 honors||17||2||0||89%||22||6||0||88%|
|2012||1st||1st||2nd||6 with 16 honors||17||1||0||94%||30||3||0||91%|
|2013||1st||1st||1st||6 with 16 honors||15||2||0||88%||31||2||0||91%|
|Totals||30 individuals with 116 honors||187||41||2||82%||293||79||3||79%|
What they are saying about Rhonda Faehn...
“Rhonda was one of my most dedicated and disciplined gymnasts. I enjoyed coaching her as she developed into a world-class gymnast. She has been the national champion on the vault and a member of the U.S. National Team. Rhonda has a high moral standard and is driven by her goals. Those traits she showed as a gymnast are still present today. Rhonda has already proven her expertise and high technical coaching level in her previous positions. I have absolutely no doubt that she will be one of the sport’s most successful coaches. She continues to be one of my favorites - I wish her the best of luck.”
– Bela Karolyi