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By Matt Levine
The UK gymnastics team is asking the question; why have one head coach when we can have two?
Technically, Heather Hite and Chuck Dickerson, the team’s two coaches, are assistants, but they are the two who manage the team.
Hite said although it is a lot of work without an official head coach, she and Dickerson are working well together.
“We have a lot of responsibilities to catch up on because we don’t have that third person,” Hite said. “But as far as what I think the girls are doing and how we are competing, I think it’s fine.”
Although the Cats 1-4 (0-4) have a sub-par record, their overall scores have improved as the season has progressed.
Hite says the two coaches split up the responsibilities, with Dickerson focusing on the in-gym duties and Hite handling all of the out-of-the-gym duties.
“I do a lot of the paperwork stuff as far as expense reports and everything like that inside the office,” Hite said. “(Dickerson) does more of the conditioning and the workouts inside the gym.”
As for the reason there is no official head coach, Dickerson says that it was what the administration wanted for now and that it will look for a head coach around May when the season is over.
“That is administration’s call,” Dickerson said. “When they released the last head coach, they just asked us to ride the ship and make it happen through the season. I think they are going to do a national search in May.”
The gymnasts on the team also feel like the season has been going smoothly. Andrea Mitchell, a senior gymnast, said the coaches have done a great job at not getting discouraged with the team.
“We have definitely made the adjustments from the beginning of the year and really had to stick together as a team,” Mitchell said. “The coaches really have done a great job with sticking with us, which definitely makes things easier for the team.”
Mitchell is coming off a performance against No. 22 Auburn in which she claimed the all-around title, which means she had the highest total score of any participant in all four events. She said that achieving the all-around title was one of her goals for this season.
“That has definitely been what I have been working toward this season,” said Mitchell. “It just felt good to finally get that under my belt.”
Although Mitchell accomplished her goal, the Cats lost the meet against Auburn. Dickerson says that the team simply made too many mistakes.
“We actually pretty much gave that meet away,” Dickerson said. “We made a lot of mistakes on bars, which is usually a real strong event for us. That was really the first time this year that bars had been a struggle, so we can add a point back just on that one event.”
The Cats’ next meet is against No. 6 Alabama, and after a loss against Auburn, Dickerson says the team will use the “nothing to lose” mentality to knock off a strong Alabama team.
“Alabama is a powerhouse, but we have nowhere to go but up,” said Dickerson. “We need to go all out and do the best we can do, to get a good score out there.”