This post was updated Sept. 20 at 10:48 p.m.
UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field announced Thursday morning via Twitter that she will retire following the 2018-2019 season.
I have had the immense privilege & pleasure of serving @UCLA and its athletic department for the past 36 years. I have enjoyed every moment of this journey, so it is bittersweet to announce that I will retire as the head coach of the @uclagymnastics team following the ’19 season. pic.twitter.com/acLSqY5img
— Valorie Kondos Field (@OfficialMissVal) September 20, 2018
“The last few days have been the most emotional I’ve literally ever been,” Kondos Field said. “I’ve been through breast cancer, I’ve been through deaths in a family, but I can’t remember ever being this distraught before.”
Kondos Field will serve as coach for her 29th year, currently holding a career coaching record of 516-120-3. The UCLA Hall of Famer became in 2010 the second active coach ever to be inducted, after pursuing the coaching job with no formal gymnastics background.
“Usually in athletics, your success is determined by championships,” Kondos Field said. “But I really feel that my legacy is the fact that I came into this program never having never done gymnastics and that I was an immigrant to this sport.”
With a ballet background instead, Kondos Field was first hired as the Bruins’ assistant coach and choreographer in 1983, before taking over the head coaching job in 1991.
Considered one of the premiere programs in collegiate gymnastics, the Bruins won seven national championships under Kondos Field, including an NCAA championship over Oklahoma in April for UCLA’s 115th title.
Kondos Field has won both NACGC/W National Coach of the Year and Pac-12 Coach of the Year four times. Her student athletes have also garnered 30 individual NCAA titles during her years as coach.
“There’s nothing negative about why I decided to retire,” Kondos Field said. “But you know when it’s time. I always thought people were crazy when they said that, but you really do know when it’s time.”
Kondos Field’s final season with the Bruins begins at the beginning of January when UCLA hosts Nebraska.