Q&A with University of Utah Gymnastics Coach Greg Marsden

Greg Marsden, head coach extraordinaire of Utah woman’s gymnastics team,’ visited the Pac-12 Network Studio in San Francisco Thursday alongside his fellow conference gymnastics head coaches for the second day of coaches meetings being hosted at the conferences’ new media headquarters.

Marsden is one of the most successful coaches in the history of collegiate gymnastics. He has won a record tying 10 national championships, amassed 950 victories and coached 317 All-Americans. Under the reign of Marsden, the ‘Red Rocks’ have successfully acquired more top-five (27), top-three (22) and top-two (18) NCAA gymnastics finishes than any other school.

These titles come on-top of successful advances to the NCAA Championship. The Utes have made it to the Super Six 17 times in the history of the team.

Beyond the wins, Marsden has seen the gymnastics program grow into one of the highest attended collegiate sporting events in the nation, supported by an average of 11,200 fans at home meets each season.

We caught up with Marsden to discuss the upcoming season, coaching alongside his wife Megan and his thoughts on what the Pac-12 Networks brings to University of Utah gymnastics.

Q: What are you most excited about for the 2012-2013 season of gymnastics?

Marsden: “We have such a young enthusiastic group of athletes and they really love what they are doing. They have come in everyday and worked hard. They want to be there, they want to get better, and we are going to need that. They are going to need to get better. There are some people who were role players last year that are going to have to step up and play much bigger roles this year. But I am confident that in time they are ready to do that.”

Q: Who do you view as your biggest competition this season and why?

Marsden: “Always UCLA, Stanford, and Oregon State. Those along with [us] right now are the big four. Arizona is coming fast; Washington is getting much better; ASU is working hard to get back to what they once were. Cal has two new enthusiastic coaches that I know from their recruiting that they are doing right now, they are coming back in a big way. Right now I really think we are one of the best conferences in the country and in the next few years the strength of our conference is even going to be better because I think that there are four programs that are really moving forward and getting better and better each year.

Q: What is it like working and coaching with your wife, Megan Marsden? What are the secrets to your success?

Marsden: “It’s wonderful. It’s the only thing we have ever known. We met through gymnastics, we have worked together our entire careers, and we have a great relationship in the gym and obviously out of the gym. It’s just who we are, what we do, and what we love. People are always surprised because we hardly ever talk about gymnastics at home. If you walk into our home you would not know we are gymnastics coaches. There is no memorabilia on the walls, nothing that would lead you to believe that. I think we have always done a great job of separating our lives between our professional lives and our personal lives.”

Q: What do you think of the new Pac-12 Networks Headquarters here in San Francisco?

Marsden: “I was expecting to be impressed, but I am blown away. This is an unbelievable facility and it’s even more unbelievable that it’s put together in the time frame that they have had. This is absolutely spectacular.”

Q: What does the launch of Pac-12 Networks mean to you, your team, and your university?

Marsden: “Exposure. It means exposure. We recruit from all over the country and even all over the world. It’s very important to us that we have always been able to provide the families, former coaches, and friends of our student athletes the opportunity to stay involved with their careers, even if they are all the way across the country or all the way across the world. The Pac-12 Networks is going to do that for us in spades.”

Q: What expectations and hopes do you have for the Pac-12 Networks?

Marsden: “My expectation is that it’s going to grow and become the standard, an example of what everyone else and every other conference would like to have.”


Pac-12 Baseball, Softball Lead Off First Coaches Meetings Hosted at Pac-12 Enterprises HQs in San Francisco

With the fall athletic season just getting underway, the coaches at the helm of the conferences’ baseball and softball programs gathered at the Pac-12 Studios in San Francisco for their annual meetings Wednesday afternoon.

The baseball and softball programs are the first of the conference’s sport programs to have their annual meetings hosted at Pac-12 Studios, giving them the opportunity to check out the conference’s new media headquarters in the heart of San Francisco.

Pac-12 baseball coaches take a tour of the Pac-12 Network studios.

With 80,000 square feet on two floors, the conference’s studio space offers ample meeting space, while also providing the coaching staffs the opportunity to get a first hand glimpse of the operations that will bring additional exposure to their 2013 seasons.

The day began early as both sport programs met with conference officials, including Commissioner Larry Scott to discuss a variety of topics from officiating to scheduling. With the addition of the Pac-12 Networks, the coaches were also introduced to the work of several departments and staff members at the Enterprise offices

The visit to the studios for Cal head softball coach Diane Ninemire also gave her the opportunity to check out the new workspace of former Cal All-American utility, Valerie Arioto who is an intern within the Networks’ marketing and promotions department.

“Val is just an outstanding person,” said Ninemire. “She was a great student-athlete for us here at the University of California and for her to stay in the athletic world with an internship here at Pac-12 Networks goes to show the opportunities the Networks open for Pac-12 students to further their education with valuable experience at an organization they clearly have a passion for.”

For Andy Lopez, head coach of the NCAA Champion Arizona Wildcats baseball team with longtime ties to the conference, the birth of Pac-12 Networks is dream come true.

“This is exactly what I always thought it would be,” said Lopez. “Coming here now and being able to take a tour of the facility to see what Commissioner Scott has done and all that’s going on with the Pac-12 Networks is a little bit of a hidden dream for me. Being an L.A. kid and going to UCLA, playing baseball for the Bruins – I grew up as part of the Pac, so seeing this is a thrill. This is first class. This is exactly what you’d expect a big time athletic network to be.”

With the birth of a television network also comes the responsibilities of providing on-air and online video content, which the baseball and softball coaches also experienced first hand today. Each coach taped on-air promotional spots for marketing and online interviews with the Pac-12 digital team. While their comfort level in front of the cameras may vary, each coach took their turn in stride.

“It’s been fun to watch the football coaches do it,” said Utah head baseball coach Bill Kinneberg. “I had an idea that it may be coming [for us]. I was a little bit scared about it, but it’ll be fun to see. I know my kids will get a kick out of it.”

On Thursday, the contingent of Pac-12’s women’s gymnastics coaches will be on hand for their meeting and first look at Enterprises headquarters, followed by Pac-12 wrestling coaches on Friday.