Legendary LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, known as ‘Dean of Coaches,’ announces retirement after 43 years

D-D Breaux
D-D Breaux(Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | Source: WAFB)
Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:38 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - D-D Breaux, known as the “Dean of Coaches” at LSU, has announced her retirement effective immediately after leading the LSU gymnastics program for 43 years.

She is the longest-tenured coach of any sport in the SEC and has more than 800 wins.

Click here to hear her read a letter to the LSU community after 43 seasons.

“I’m 67 but feel like I’m 35,” said Breaux. “You just know when it’s time.”

The legendary coach said she wants to spend more time with her grandchildren. She added COVID-19 certainly played a major role. She expressed content with her decision and will continue to help LSU in an Emeritus position.

The term pioneer is often thrown around too loosely but when it comes to D-D Breaux, it applies to her just as much as anyone else. As a young woman in her 20s, Breaux was named the head coach of a fledgling and very lightly regarded LSU gymnastics team in the late 70s. And from there, through the 80s and then the 90s, Breaux fought for respect and equality while building a program that broke through to national prominence and sold-out crowds at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“I’ve always told myself that I would know when it would be time to make this most difficult decision. This program was not built easily, but it is now in the most secure and positive position it has been since its inception. LSU Gymnastics is one of the best and most powerful programs in the country with, most importantly, the most incredible fan support,” Breaux explained.

Co-head coach Jay Clark, who has been with the program for eight years, will take over.

LSU gymnastics co-head coach Jay Clark
LSU gymnastics co-head coach Jay Clark(Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV (custom credit) | WAFB)

“Jay was named co-head coach in anticipation of this moment. He is a great recruiter and his coaching philosophy is demanding and produces excellence. I have confidence in my decision because the torch is being passed on to Jay,” Breaux added.

Breaux has led the Tigers to 17 NCAA Championship appearances in the last 18 seasons, seven NCAA Championship Finals since 2008, and 14 individual national titles since 2002.

LSU fans wanted badly to see Breaux win a national championship. She came so close a few times. The Tigers have finished as a top 10 team 30 times in 42 seasons, ending the season ranked No. 2 in 2016, 2017, and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013, and sixth for four years.

RELATED: D-D Breaux retires after 43 seasons

“D-D Breaux’s contribution to this university, this community and to our athletic program is simply immeasurable,” said LSU athletic director Scott Woodward. “She has had a generational impact on the student-athletes she has coached and mentored over her 43 years of service, not to mention all of the rest of us she has taught along the way. With hard work and pure force of her will, D-D built a gymnastics program from the ground up into one that is now recognized worldwide for elite-level excellence. D-D has given her all to LSU and to Louisiana and we have been made better because of her contributions here. D-D has always represented the purple and gold with the highest levels of dignity, grace and grit and will continue to do that in this new role.”

She has been named SEC Coach of the Year nine times (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015, 2017, and 2019), NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year nine times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017), and National Coach of the Year twice (2014 and 2017).

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