DI Coach of the Year: JD Reive

BY RYAN PROBASCO | MAY 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s gymnastics squad has incrementally improved in every season of head coach JD Reive’s three-year tenure. And the 2012-13 campaign was no exception.

Reive is no stranger to success — he helped Stanford win the 2009 national championship during his eight-year tenure as an assistant. This season, the Black and Gold placed fifth at the NCAA championships, marking the program’s best finish since 2000.

Redshirt sophomore Lance Alberhasky foresaw that success this season, mostly because of his head coach’s prolific track record.

“I knew at this point we would be making team finals, just from JD’s past history with Stanford,” the Iowa City native said. “He really turned that program around, too. He’s put in the effort that you know he’ll get results from. I knew it was going to happen, and I believe next year we’re going to go even higher.”

Reive has worked tirelessly to put Iowa men’s gymnastics back on the map. Although the sport isn’t revenue-driven and has never been known for bringing in large audiences, he takes comfort in knowing his squad’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“I’m ecstatic; this is a lot of fun,” Reive said. “Really like we’ve been saying all year, we’ve been working so hard to get this program on track. And to finally be getting some recognition for it is super comforting.”

The Hawkeyes’ postseason success wasn’t completely unexpected, either. In the regular season, Iowa was incredibly competitive during what was expected to be a daunting Big Ten schedule. The team sustained a three-dual meet win streak over conference opponents in February. All three wins were against teams ranked in tahe top 10 nationally, with the signature win coming against defending national champion Illinois on Feb. 16.

“With these last three seasons, we’ve probably went from maybe making it to NCAAs my freshman year to making it to the second day, a fifth-place finish, and beating some teams that we never really thought we had a chance against,” senior Matt McGrath said. “[Reive]’s proven it numerous times how good of a coach he is.”

Reive and his squad said they are confident they can continue their successful run next season. But they’re also aware of the challenge ahead. Javier Balboa and Anton Gryshayev combined for three All-American honors’ and Brody Shemansky was a two-time All-Big Ten team member. All three will leave the program after graduation.

Filling those roles will be a difficult task for a relatively young squad. But the DI’s Coach of the Year will ensure that his new, inexperienced athletes — much like the rest of his team — won’t be outworked by the competition.

“We see three hours of him every day in the gym,” McGrath said. “He works tirelessly outside the gym to get us where we need to be, to recruit other athletes, and to make sure our stands are full at meets.

“He’s probably one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. He’s somewhat of an icon of mine on how I should be striving to the next level because he’s just a workhorse.”

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