Jerry Nelson named interim coach of SCSU Gymnastics

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Southern Connecticut State University Director of Athletics and Recreation Terrance Jones has announced that Jerry Nelson has been named interim coach of the women's gymnastics program, effective June 18, 2024. Nelson served as the Owls' head coach for 15 years from 2005 through the 2018-19 season and served as the Owls' interim coach in 2020.

“I am very pleased to welcome Jerry Nelson back to Southern Connecticut,” Jones said. “Jerry has played such an important role in developing the program to the point it is today. He has led the Owls to athletic and academic success in the past, as well as community involvement. We are grateful for his return during this transition.”

Nelson will serve as the Owls' interim coach for the 2024-25 season before Southern Connecticut begins a nationwide search for a permanent position. Nelson replaces Byron Knox, who served as the Owls' head coach from 2020 to 2024. Knox led Southern's gymnasts to postseason competition in the three seasons following the COVID-related pause in competition in 2020. The former Owls captain Isabella Antonangeli will return as an assistant coach next season. SCSU Athletics thanks Coach Knox for his many years of service to SCSU and wishes him the best in his future endeavors.

Nelson was the 2007 National Coach of the Year, was named ECAC Gymnastics Coach of the Year four times, and led Southern to three ECAC Gymnastics Championships. Nelson's teams also included an All-American in 12 of his 15 seasons as head coach of the Owls, as well as 82 USA Gymnastics All-America Scholar-Athletes, 73 WGCA Scholar-Athletes, 19 All-Americans, eight ECAC Scholar-Athletes of the Year, five ECAC Rookies of the Year, and four student-athletes who received ECAC Athlete of the Year or Most Outstanding Performer awards. SCSU also had 17 ECAC champions during that time.

In addition to his position at SCSU, Nelson has also served as chair of the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Women's Championship Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women. Nelson served for three years as chair of the New Haven Sports Committee of the Greater New Haven Convention and Visitors' Bureau, whose mission is to maximize resources and bring major sporting events to New Haven. He is also a National Safety Instructor for USAG and is featured in the Safety Manual for his contributions to the success of the program.

Prior to joining Southern's staff, Nelson owned and coached Nelson's Gymnastics Centers in southern Connecticut from 1974 to 1999, where he worked at five locations with more than 15,000 young gymnasts over the years.

Nelson is a graduate of SCSU and was a member of the Owls in 1973 and 1975.
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