Email Coach Kindler
It has been 10 years since Oklahoma Athletic Director brought head coach K.J. Kindler to Norman to lead the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program. In that decade, Kindler has seen her transformative vision for the Sooner program become a reality.
A three-time National Coach of the Year, Kindler led her program exactly where many said it could never go. OU’s head coach has taken the Sooners to the absolute height of the NCAA gymnastics world with a 2014 NCAA Championship, five top-three national finishes, six straight regional titles, 63 All-America honors and seven Big 12 titles.
Kindler’s 2015 Sooners were impressively dominant throughout the season, earning a perfect 14-0 record during the regular season for the nation’s only undefeated regular season. The Sooners also spent the entirety of the regular season ranked No. 1 nationally, earning the top spot in the rankings for an impressive 12 straight weeks. OU captured its fourth consecutive Big 12 Championship (a league first) , the NCAA Norman Regional title and 11 regular season All-America honors.
Kindler led her Sooners to a strong finish at the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth as the team achieved its fifth Super Six appearance since 2010, taking third place overall. Kindler’s OU squad earned a program-record and nation-leading 13 All-America honors and every Sooner competing in event finals finished in the top 10 nationally on their individual events.
In recognition of Oklahoma’s extraordinary and dominant season, NCAA gymnastics coaches voted Kindler the 2015 National Coach of the Year. Kindler has been named Coach of the Year three times in her career (2005, 2010, 2015), including two times as head coach at Oklahoma.
A visionary with the heart and willpower to accomplish what few thought was possible, Kindler made Oklahoma only the sixth team in NCAA history to win a women's gymnastics championship in the 2014 season. Kindler's 2014 Sooners were Big 12 champions, NCAA Minneapolis Regional Champions and earned nine NCAA All-America awards. She also coached three gymnasts to top-two finishes at the NCAA Championships, including balance beam champion Taylor Spears. Spears became OU's first individual national champion in 26 years and was joined by Maile'ana Kanewa (floor exercise) and Haley Scaman (floor exercise) in earning top-two NCAA finishes.
The 2014 Sooners won their title in record-breaking fashion at the 2014 NCAA Championships, posting a meet-record 198.175 to tie Florida atop the podium. OU earned program-record scores at an NCAA Championship meet on three out of four events.
In 2013, Kindler led OU to the program's third NCAA Super Six team finals appearance. The squad earned seven All-America honors en route to a second-place team effort overall, tying for the highest finish in program history. The performance marked OU's third top-three finish in the last four seasons under Kindler.
Kindler's 2010 team also achieved a second-place finish in OU's first-ever Super Six appearance. With the performance, Kindler became the first head coach in NCAA history to lead two separate programs to the Super Six (Iowa State--2006; Oklahoma--2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
Under Kindler's leadership, OU has captured seven Big 12 championships, six consecutive NCAA regional titles and 63 NCAA All-America awards. The collegiate gymnastics community has recognized Kindler for her coaching achievements, awarding her National Coach of Year honors three times, Regional Coach of the Year accolades six times (2004, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014) and Big 12 Coach of the Year laurels a program-record nine times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
Kindler has bolstered OU to new heights, coaching 63 All-Americans, 30 Big 12 Champions and 22 NCAA Regional champions in just nine seasons at Oklahoma.
The 2013 season marked one of the finest in Oklahoma program history. OU spent the entirety of the season ranked in the top three nationally, including two weeks at No. 1. The primary beam coach, Kindler led the beam squad to a No. 1 ranking for 11 consecutive weeks during the regular season. OU defeated nine top-25 teams, including four top-10 squads, en route to the program's 11th conference title and an NCAA Regional championship.
The Sooners' regular season efforts were recognized with a nation-best 11 NACGC/W All-America awards. Kindler's leadership throughout the team's stellar season earned her Coach of the Year honors from the Big 12 and the South Central Region.
Kindler's OU squad was marked by excellence at both the team and individual levels in 2013. The team posted a 197.375 at the NCAA Championships to finish as the nation's runner-up, tying for the highest finish in Sooner history. OU scored a 197.000 or better at 13 meets in 2013, tying an NCAA record for most such meets in a single season.
Kindler has combined athletic and academic success throughout her career with 78 Academic All-Big 12 honorees and 50 NACGC/W Scholastic All-Americans.
In 2012, Kindler led the Sooners to team titles at the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Champaign Regional. Kinder was named conference coach of the year and OU captured seven All-America awards and a seventh-place finish in the country.
Kindler was named the South Central Regional Head Coach of the Year in 2011 after guiding OU to its third undefeated regular season in four years. A program-best 11 OU gymnasts were named All-Americans as the Sooners went on to win an NCAA Regional title and finish third in the nation.
On Jan. 23, 2011, Kindler collected her 100th win with the OU program as the Sooners defeated TWU, 196.175-193.050. OU is a combined 179-48-2 in seven seasons under Kindler; she has helped the program to its four best win percentages in program history in the last four seasons.
In 2010, the National Coach of the Year, Regional Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year led Oklahoma to a national runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships with seven All-Americans, including Big 12 Sportswoman of the Year Hollie Vise. Vise was an All-American on bars, beam and floor and finished as the national runner-up on bars and floor.
Under the direction of Kindler, the Sooners closed 2010 with a final record of 29-3. The win total broke the previous program best of 26 that was set in 1989 under Becky Switzer. Kindler guided the Sooners to the only undefeated regular season in the NCAA in 2010 (22-0) en route to postseason titles at the Big 12 Championship and NCAA University Park Regional.
OU was ranked first or second in every regular season poll in 2010, as the Sooners were the only squad in the country to score above a 196.000 in every meet.
Oklahoma also picked up its first win over a No. 1 opponent in program history in 2010 with a 197.950-197.275 victory over top-ranked Alabama on March 5. OU eclipsed its previous program best (197.725) by 0.225 in the win, which was the highest score in the NCAA that season.
Kindler's squad continued its Big 12 dominance, winning its third-straight Big 12 title with a team score of 197.175, the highest score by a conference champion since 2001. OU swept all four team event titles and won at least a share of all four individual event titles.
The Sooners won their second-straight Big 12 title in 2009, while posting individual event titles on bars and beam at the conference championship. Megan Ferguson earned All-America status with her stellar performance on beam as the Sooners won eight beam titles in 2009.
In 2008, Kindler guided Kiara Redmond as the senior capped off her illustrious career with four additional All-America honors, moving her career total to nine - the highest tally of any gymnast in program history. The 2008 campaign started with 21 consecutive victories, including all 18 regular season meetings, as OU finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in the country.
Oklahoma produced a conference-leading nine spots on the 2008 regular season All-Big 12 Team.
OU recorded only two scores lower than 9.8 in the final three events of the 2008 conference championship as the Sooners clinched at least a share of all four individual event titles - marking just the third time in Big 12 history that a school clinched at least a share of all four apparatus wins.
Named head coach of the Sooners in the summer of 2006, Kindler quickly positioned the OU squad among the nation's elite in her first season in Norman in 2007. That year, the Sooners rattled off a streak of 12 consecutive victories, nine of which came on the road, including an upset of then-No. 6 Nebraska in Lincoln, a feat no OU team had accomplished since 1991.
Oklahoma finished second at the Big 12 Championships before heading to the NCAA Central Regional, taking second place before finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish up to that point in program history.
"We are dedicated to filling our staff with the best and brightest minds in coaching," said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione upon Kindler's hiring. "K.J. Kindler brings a reputation of great achievement in all aspects of leading a program."
Prior to her hiring at OU, Kindler spent six seasons as the head coach at Iowa State. In her final season in Ames in 2006, Kindler led Iowa State to its third trip to the NCAA Championships and its first appearance in the Super Six team finals.
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 won its first Big 12 Championship since 2000, and three Cyclone gymnasts earned either an outright or share of an individual title at the meet.
During six seasons at ISU from 2001-06, Kindler coached nine regional event champions, seven NCAA individual championship qualifiers and 13 Big 12 champions.
Kindler, an Iowa State graduate, joined the Cyclone staff as an assistant coach in 1992.
As an ISU gymnast, Kindler was a three-time MVP for the Cyclones and runner-up in the all-around at the 1992 Big Eight Championships. She was the school's first individual NCAA Regional qualifier and competed three times in the postseason 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 multiple conference and state titles.
The eldest of five siblings, Kindler hails from a gymnastics family. One sister, Lori, competed at the University of Minnesota. She and her husband own and operate Flips Gymnastics in the Twin Cities area. Kindler's nieces, Emma and Lucy Kindler, enjoy recreational gymnastics.
Kindler is married to OU assistant coach Lou Ball. The couple has two daughters, Maggie and Adelade.