There are arguably few more satisfying feelings in the world of sports than going out on your own terms, and University of Michigan men’s gymnastics coach Kurt Golder is doing just that. After 25 storied years with the Wolverines, leader of the program decided to call it a career.
His resume with the maize and blue is highly decorated. The team won four NCAA titles under his watch, in 1999, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Golder was sent off with a Big Ten championship in his final season at the helm.
“They met most of my expectations and I was very, very happy and proud of all of them,” Golder said. “It was a very challenging year, but we got through it. You’ve got to roll with the punches and stay optimistic and our team did a great job all season.” Via TheAlpenanews.com
What makes Golder’s success with the program even more special is that he grew up in Michigan. He attended Alpena high school in the early 1970’s, which is where his love of gymnastics was born. He was an all-star gymnast with the Wildcats in his final three years in high school. Golder gives a lot of credit to the gymnastics coach there at the time, Jack Discher, for keeping him on the straight and narrow.
“He gave me an opportunity,” Golder said while recalling Discher’s impact. “I got into some trouble, and I think Jack saw the potential in me. I think he took some grief from the coaches, but he gave me a second chance.” Via AlpenaNews.com
Golder would go on to attend the University of Michigan, and make his mark as an athlete before going on to coach the Wolverines. He remembers setting foot on the campus in his high school days, not initially thinking he would join the program as a collegiate.
“We sat up in the nosebleed section(to watch UM compete in the NCAA men’s gymnastics championships),” he said. “I remember I didn’t have a real loyalty to any school back then.” Via USAgym.org
While Golder has had a lot of success in his coaching career, he didn’t exactly inherit a powerhouse program. Before he took over the program, the Wolverines struggled mightily, including an 0-16 campaign in 1996 as the low water mark for the school. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but Golder was determined to turn the team around.
“I worked my finger to the bone. We started at 6 a.m. and the earliest I came home was 11p.m. We outworked everybody,” Golder recollected. Via Alpenanews.com
It will be very difficult for Michigan to fill his shoes, but Yuan Xiao has been tabbed as the interim head coach. He is experienced though, having been with the Wolverines and Golder for the last 17 years.