Longtime UCLA women's gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field is making her 29th season her last.
Kondos Field says she is retiring next spring to explore other pursuits. Her decision ends a remarkable run in which she's led the Bruins to seven national titles, including a narrow victory over Oklahoma at the NCAA Championships last spring.
"I have had the immense privilege and pleasure of serving this university and athletic department for the past 36 years," Kondos Field said in a statement. "UCLA has offered me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of, from a world-class education, to being part of an athletic team despite never having played organized sports in my life, to being able to mentor and teach life lessons to incredible young women. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, and I will deeply miss all of the wonderful people that make up UCLA Athletics, and, most importantly, the daily interaction with our student-athletes, coaches and staff. However, I will forever be our most ardent supporter and look forward to continuing the dance in a different role but always as a proud UCLA Bruin."
Kondos Field, 59, had no formal background in gymnastics before joining the coaching staff in 1983. She was elevated to head coach in 1991 and after an adjustment period developed a reputation as a coach who placed as much emphasis on the development of her student athletes off the competition floor as she did on it.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero called Kondos Field "not only a tremendous mentor in the gym, but in life."
"Of course, we all know, her teams have been incredibly successful," Guerrero said. "In winning, most importantly, she fosters this success the right way, by creating a culture of positivity and growth that has elevated the UCLA Gymnastics program to new heights, among the nation's most elite."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.