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Our Stories: Legendary UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field reflects on final swing through Pac-12 competition

Any time one of our NCAA gymnastics coaches retires, I find myself going through the same thought process: First, a trip down memory lane of all the experiences I had with that coach, and second, a feeling of renewal as to what the next head coach will bring to our sport. I imagine the other Pac-12 coaches thought along these same lines when I announced my retirement. 

I am extremely grateful to Tabitha Yim, Head Coach of Stanford Gymnastics. When I explained our home competition schedule to her and the fact that we would need to have our / my last home meet in Pauley Pavilion on a Tuesday, she immediately said, “Let me see what I can do with our schedule that will allow you to have your last home meet in Pauley on a weekend.”

She ended up making adjustments to Stanford’s schedule that were not favorable for them but allowed UCLA Gymnastics to have our last home meet on a Saturday afternoon – prime time for the maximum crowd attendance.

I have told other Pac-12 coaches that I honestly do not want a victory lap celebration at every meet this season. Instead, I am enthusiastically looking forward to my last time in their arenas as a coach and plan to soak up all the fun and excitement that our Pac-12 matchups offer.

Valorie Kondos Field (@OfficialMissVal) is a seven-time NCAA champion with UCLA gymnastics. Watch more of her story Feb. 17 at 6:15 p.m. PT/ 7:15 p.m. MT on "Our Stories" on Pac-12 Network, and catch five more UCLA meets on Pac-12 Network this season.