Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Arkansas loses gymnastics coach
Arkansas gymnastics co-head coach Rene Lyst embraces gymnast Sydnie Dillard after she competed on the beam during a meet against Florida on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Rene Lyst was named head gymnastics coach at Arizona State on Monday.
Lyst had spent the last 12 seasons as co-head coach at Arkansas. She helped start the Razorbacks' gymnastics program with her ex-husband Mark Cook, who will remain as Arkansas' head coach.
“Rene has been a vital part of our program and we appreciate all that she has contributed to the Razorbacks,” Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a statement announcing Lyst's resignation. “We wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor. Our gymnastics program is one of the best in the country year-in and year-out and we expect that strong foundation that Rene helped build, to continue long into our future.”
Lyst's move comes two weeks after senior Katherine Grable won two individual national championships for Arkansas. Lyst told Hawgs Illustrated that Grable's wins indicated how far the program had come since its inception in 2003.
"We got here and there was nothing," Lyst said in the May edition of the magazine. "We didn't have this training building and we had no athletes. To say we just had a national champion, it's been 12 years and I can't even tell you how incredible that feeling was. You knew it was part of you that made it happen."