NORMAN, Okla. - K.J. Kindler, the 2005 National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGCW) Coach of the Year and three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year, has been named the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of Oklahoma pending approval of the OU Board of Regents.
OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione announced the appointment Thursday.
Kindler recently completed her seventh season as the head coach at Iowa State.
"We are dedicated to hiring the best and brightest minds in coaching," said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. "K.J. Kindler brings a reputation of great achievement in all aspects of leading a program. She impressed us not only with her accomplishment to this point, but with her lofty goals for the future and her plan for reaching those goals. We are anxious to work with K.J. and are excited to welcome her to our Sooner family."
Kindler's 2006 season culminated with Iowa State's third trip to the NCAA National Championships and its first appearance among the Super Six (teams that qualify from the preliminaries to compete for the national title).
The 24-10 Cyclones produced three All-Americans for a second consecutive season, while posting an undefeated mark at home, a 10-1 dual record and an 8-1 standard in duals against ranked opponents. The team also snapped Nebraska's 60-meet home winning streak.
The 2006 squad boasted its first Big 12 Championship since 2000, and three Cyclone gymnasts earned either an outright or a share of individual titles at the meet.
"It is with great honor and respect that I join the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department," said Kindler. "I am impressed with the motivation of the staff and the dedication to the student-athletes. From the academic center to the sports facilities, OU provides a top-notch program to help all young student-athletes excel.
"In addition, the Gymnastics community in Oklahoma is second to none. The clubs which surround Norman offer an opportunity to grow the sport at the university level."
Since taking over ISU head coaching duties in 2001 Kindler coached eight regional event champions, 11 NCAA individual championship qualifiers and 18 Big 12 champions (three all-arounders).
Added Kindler, "As a young coach, I was given an incredible opportunity to join the Iowa State gymnastics staff. They put trust in a young woman with little experience and a big heart. I will always be grateful for their leap of faith. I will carry with me many memories of awesome accomplishments and wonderful student-athletes."
Kindler, an Iowa State graduate, joined the Cyclone staff as an assistant coach in 1992. As an ISU gymnast she was a three-time MVP for the Cyclones and runner-up in the all-around at the 1992 Big Eight Conference Championship. She was the school's first individual NCAA Regional qualifier, competing three times in the post-season meet.
Kindler hails from Lake Elmo, Minn., and trained under Mary Jane Olsen at Hamline University in St. Paul. In high school, she moved to Connecticut and trained under Frank and Laurie DeFrancesco at Arena Academy in Stamford and Walter Hawkes at Wilton High School. In Connecticut, she won many conference and state titles.
The eldest of five siblings, Kindler hails from a gymnastics family. One sister, Lori, competed at Minnesota. With her husband, she owns and operates Flips Gymnastics in the Twin Cities area. Kindler's niece, Sydney Kleinhuizer, is a level-5 gymnast, while another of Kindler's sisters, Meghan, coaches recreational gymnastics.
Kindler will serve as the primary coach for the balance beam, will handle all choreography and will assist on the floor exercise.
Kindler is married to Lou Ball, who served as an assistant coach at Iowa State. He will serve in a similar capacity with the Sooners pending Board of Regents approval.
At Oklahoma, Kindler replaces Steve Nunno, who resigned in May.