UC Davis brings in Sacramento State and Air Force for final home meet
John Lavallee has wasted no time in establishing his mark on the Aggie women's gymnastics program. In each of his first three seasons, he earned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year honors. In six overall years, he has guided eight student-athletes to 11 individual at-large berths in the NCAA West Regional. In 2008, Lavallee mentored his program to its first MPSF team title, which the Aggies won with a school-record 194.700. The team has also captured three straight conference championships from 2010 through 2012.
In addition to his MPSF titles, Lavallee has brought the program a step closer to his goal of transforming UC Davis into an NCAA regional qualifier. The Aggies finished 39th in the national RQS rankings with a school-record 193.885 in 2010, then ended up 43rd (193.150) on the leaderboard in 2011. No UC Davis team had compiled an RQS higher than 192.680 prior to those two years. For his part, Lavallee garnered NACGC/W West Region Coach of the Year acclaim in 2010.
Lavallee's student-athletes have also performed in the classroom, winning four straight Marya Welch Awards for the highest women's team GPA at UC Davis. Additionally, Aggie women's gymnastics has earned back-to-back NCAA Public Recognition Awards for Academic Progress Rate (2011 and 2012) and five straight NACGWC/W Academic Team honors (2008-2012).
Before arriving at UC Davis, Lavallee enjoyed a successful three-year stint as the top assistant for longtime Yale mentor Barbara Tonry. In the past two seasons, he and Tonry guided six Bulldogs to at-large appearances at the NCAA Northeast Regional. Furthermore, Yale captured an Ivy League title in 2005.
Prior to his stop in New Haven, Lavallee spent 11 years as director and head coach of the Sterling Academy of Gymnastics in Sterling, Mass. In addition to his work with club's recreational programs, which grew to more than 1,000 students, Lavallee coached champions at the state, regional and national level, plus a member of the 2002 Junior Olympic National Team. He served as meet director at many levels including the 1999 USAG Eastern Championships. Also during his time at Sterling, Lavallee taught gymnastics as a physical education course at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Mass.
While at the Sterling Academy of Gymnastics, Lavallee earned three USAG Service Awards for his contributions to his sport and served as a member of the USAG State Administrative Committee as Massachusetts' Junior Olympic representative.
Lavallee was a collegiate gymnast at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. In 1986, he earned U.S. Gymnastics Federation All-America honors on floor exercise and served as team captain. Lavallee earned his bachelor's degree in general studies in 1987, then returned for his master of education in 1992. While completing his master's work, he served as a graduate assistant for the Chiefs (now the Pride) and taught gymnastics classes in the physical education department.
Lavallee's wife, Teri, also serves on the Aggie gymnastics coaching staff as an assistant coach.