A familiar face will lead the Bruins next season.
UCLA gymnastics officially named Chris Waller its next head coach Wednesday evening. The associate head coach will take over for Valorie Kondos Field, who retired in April after 36 years with the program.
“It was my great honor to have worked alongside (Kondos Field) for 17 years, and to take the helm of this storied program is a dream come true,” Waller said. “My blood runs Bruin blue, and I cannot wait to continue this journey.”
Waller has spent the last seven years as the Bruins’ associate head coach, having joined UCLA as an assistant coach in 2003. Both his first two years with the team, the Bruins won the NCAA championships, which earned Waller the NACGC National Assistant Coach of the Year title in 2004.
Before starting his coaching career, Waller made a name for himself as a gymnast.
Waller competed for UCLA men’s gymnastics from 1987 to 1991, and helped win the program’s final national championship in 1987. He was inducted into the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2003 after an eight-year stint on the U.S. national team. Waller won the U.S. all-around title in 1991 and three straight pommel horse titles from 1991 to 1993.
“Having known (Waller) since he was an 18-year-old student-athlete here, it has been so exciting to see him grow into the man and the phenomenal coach that he is today,” Kondos Field said. “(Waller) was born to coach, and I can honestly say that so much of our program’s success since he’s been on this staff has been due to his contributions.”
Kondos Field announced her retirement plans in September. Volunteer assistant coach Jordyn Wieber left the program following Kondos Field’s departure to become the next head coach at Arkansas.