Janelle McDonald UCLA California

BREAKING: Janelle McDonald Named UCLA Head Coach

California assistant coach Janelle McDonald has been announced as UCLA’s next head gymnastics coach, the school announced Monday. McDonald succeeds Chris Waller, who resigned at the end of the 2022 season after three years at the head of the program and many more as assistant coach to longtime leader Valorie Kondos Field.

“I am very grateful to Justin Howell, Liz Crandall-Howell and Cal Athletics for providing me a place to learn and grow over the past four seasons,” McDonald said. “My experiences in Berkeley and with the student-athletes on the Cal gymnastics team have pushed me to become a better version of myself and have prepared me to take on this new opportunity. I cannot wait to get started with our team and build with them a culture that will honor and continue the great history of this program.”

McDonald, a two-time regional assistant coach of the year for the Golden Bears, spent four seasons in Berkeley, leading California to the No. 1 ranking on bars during the 2021 season and the program’s highest finish overall at No. 7. That season Maya Bordas also claimed the bars national title. The team also won a share of its first-ever Pac-12 regular season title in 2022 and narrowly missed qualifying to the national championship out of the Norman regional.

McDonald also has experience coaching at WOGA and Legacy Elite, two well-known club programs in the country, and is a graduate of Arizona State, where she interned with the gymnastics team.

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Article by Elizabeth Grimsley

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