Spini to retire after 34 years leading ASU gymanstics

John Spini has coached ASU women's gymnastics to four NCAA runner-up finishes.

Jason Wise/Jason Wise Photography

TEMPE, Ariz. — After 34 years of coaching, all at his alma mater Arizona State, Sun Devils gymnastics head coach John Spini will retire following the 2014 season.

"I am so blessed and so grateful for the opportunity to coach at Arizona State," said Spini. "I attended Arizona State and I had the privilege to do what I love for a living for the past 34 years."

A four-time Pac-12 coach of the year, Spini’s teams have qualified for 21 NCAA Championships, with nine teams finishing in the top five nationally and four as NCAA runner-up.

"Of my time at Arizona State, I’ll cherish working with the athletes, administrators, my staff and people I now consider my friends," said Spini. "I am so grateful for the memories, the great memories I’ve had from my time here."

Individually, Spini coached six gymnasts to a total of 10 NCAA titles, most recently with Ashley Kelly in 2004 on balance beam.  Overall, 27 of Spini’s athletes earned 81 All-America honors.

"We are grateful for the legacy John Spini leaves at Arizona State," said senior associate athletic director Dawn Rogers.  "On behalf of the hundreds of student-athletes, colleagues and fans he impacted; we all thank him for his passion, energy and dedication."  

Spini’s investment to Arizona State expands beyond the confines of coaching. In 2006 the John Spini Gymnastics Training Facility opened inside what is now known as the Dickey Athletic Complex. The facility provided the Gym Devils their first on-campus practice facility dedicated solely to gymnastics.

"Coach Spini leaves an elite program that has achieved excellence in every facet," Rogers said.  "He developed and mentored national champions. His everyday presence will be missed, but John is a Sun Devil for life, and we look forward to his future support for all our teams."

Hired on Aug. 16, 1980, Spini is the longest tenured coach in Arizona State history and holds an overall career record of 348-220-2 as head coach of the Gym Devils.

On life after retirement, Spini emphasizes he has not retired yet. 

"We have a great team this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing them excel and have fun every meet. But when I do retire, I plan on being a fulltime grandfather and helping my wife Lisa around our club gym, Desert Lights."