D-D Breaux to remain active at LSU following retirement, legendary coaching career – The Reveille, LSU’s student newspaper

Posted: August 23, 2020 at 10:58 pm

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Pinned as the Dean of SEC Coaches for 43 years as the leader of LSU Gymnastics, D-D Breaux announced her retirement earlier this month amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many words can be used to describe Breaux and her impact on LSU through four-plus decades of service in Baton Rouge, but one feels mostappropriate: legend.

Widely-known as one of the most decorated coaches in collegiate gymnastics, recording more than 800 wins, producing 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles under her tutelage, her impact was felt far beyond the gym. Thats what made her a Louisiana icon, and much more than just a coach. She was an ambassador for LSU, and that role will remain firm post-retirement.

Her energy is contagious. Her smile is infectious. And that wont change a bit by stepping away. In fact, she has agreed to remain a key part of the LSU athletic department as a fund raiser and speaker.

Breauxs announcement does mean that co-head coach Jay Clark will take over as just the third head gymnastics coach in program history. For her, passing the torch to Clark is a decision she feels more than at peace with for the future of the nationally-recognized program she leaves behind.

Before our 2019 season, I asked that Jay Clark be named co-head coach in anticipation of this moment, Breaux said in a farewell letter. Jay 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.

Deciding to retire during an unprecedented time in sports is no coincidence, either. While its true Breaux has thought about this day more frequently in recent years, the unpredictability that COVID-19 brings made it easier for her to ultimately pull the trigger. It just felt like the right time.

This silent but deadly pandemic we are facing will necessitate change in how we do everything, at least this next season, so I believe it is the best time to make a personal life decision, Breaux said. I have never walked away from a challenge; and not doing so now, I am moving forward with this one, just in a different role.

The interest in LSU Gymnastics as a whole has skyrocketed under Breaux. The environment inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a gym meet is as lively and electric as any athletic event on campus, but that took time and effort to build. Low attendance and free tickets transformed into standing room only and sold-out crowds, all thanks to the unparalleled commitment and passion that Breaux brought every day.

You have filled the PMAC on many occasions and you helped us grow from double-digit season ticket holders to nearly 7,000 because of your love for LSU Gymnastics, Breaux said, speaking directly to LSU fans. Your faithfulness to our program and our amazing, young student-athletes will never go unnoticed.

While she never won that national championship most hoped she would, her rsum and list of accolades is as impressive as any in history. Named SEC Coach of the Year on nine separate occasions, Breauxs Tigers have finished in the top-10 nationally 31 of her 43 seasons. She was also inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey were just a handful of many public figures to come out and recognize Breaux on social media for her legendary career and the icon shes become.

"Coach D-D Breaux set a standard of excellence for her athletes on and off of the mat and her 43-year career with LSU is unparalleled, Edwards said. On behalf of the state and of all of us who had the pleasure of witnessing her talented teams take to the floor on Friday nights in a packed PMAC, I thank her for her tenacity, for her commitment to her gymnasts and the University and for her leadership in prioritizing academics and community service alongside athletic achievement. Coach Breaux is truly a legend, and we wish her well in the future."

Throughout her illustrious tenure as head coach of the Fighting Tigers, Breaux drilled three words into her players heads: Purpose, pride and passion. She personified all three.

Shes as passionate about her job as anyone on campus. She has incredible pride about how hard her team works. And, most importantly, her team comes into the gym with purpose every day.

We have mantras that [the team] says everyday, Breaux said. "The last one that we say is Win Today. Its just such an important part of the team culture. Theres a lot of emotions.

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D-D Breaux to remain active at LSU following retirement, legendary coaching career - The Reveille, LSU's student newspaper

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August 23rd, 2020 at 10:58 pm

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