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October 17, 2007

Suzanne Yoculan to Retire Following '08-'09 Season

Gym Dogs celebrate third consecutive national title (image:

Legendary Gym Dogs Coach Suzanne Yoculan announced her plans to retire at the fall Athletic Association Board of Directors meeting (Source: ABH). Long time assistant Jay Clark will replace her. The only way that she would be more entertaining to me ... if she coached football.

The self proclaimed Darth Vader of Gymnastics is quotable and a stone cold winner. In March 2006, she was interviewed by Paul Finebaum for his radio show. I did my best to transcribe that conversation. The notes are below.

During the interview, she talked about her personal rivalry with Sarah Patterson at Alabama. Paraphrase:
    Paul Finebaum: It always seems like Sarah Patterson comes off as the goodie two shoes and you're the evil one. In wrestling terms you're the masked woman, and she's Shirley Temple.

    Suzanne: The media started some of it. I'm definitely more spontaneous than Sarah. Even in press conferences, she's more calculated, protective and careful, and I'm more spontaneous.

    Sometimes I'll stick my foot in my mouth, but I say what I feel. If I think my team is unbeatable or whatever, I'll usually say so. There have been some times where we've beaten them and she has said things about equipment, the bars, or judging or whatever.

    Whatever, winners make adjustments. So we go back and forth alot, and I probably fuel the fire more with my comments. She's able to keep her Shirley Temple persona, but if you listen to who says what a lot of it starts in Alabama.

    I don't mind being the Darth Vader team of the SEC. In fact, 10 years ago we made the decision to just embrace that Darth Vader image, and we wear black everywhere we go on the road. We're an aggressive, confident team. That's our style. That's my style. I like enthusiasm. I like excitement. We've won a lot of championships because of that.

    I don't believe in failure. I'd rather go out on a limb now and have it break once and a while than to never go out there. That's just my approach. It's offensive to some people, but it wins for Georgia. So I recruit athletes who can embrace going for it.

    We're like Steve Spurrier vs. Georgia. No one in Georgia likes Spurrier because he beats us a lot. (PWD: Inferring that no one in Bama likes them b/c they never beat Georgia anymore).

    Sarah is more of a southern lady than I am. She does and says the right thing, and has better manners than I do. But that's not my style. I say what I think.

    I respect her. She's had the same challenges at Bama that I have had at UGA.

    I don't use nouns when I can use verbs. I don't call my team "underachievers." I say that they are "underachieving." I don't call Sarah Patterson a "loser," I said "don't gripe about losing." I don't hate anything but cauliflower and turnips.

    I have never had a girl transfer away from Georgia in my entire career. What other coach in any sport at any school can say that?
The entire interview was a blast. I also did a tongue in cheek article about her feud with Patterson in Feb. 2006. You can find it here. I could do without the off the field non-sense, but her success on the mats and in the classroom are undeniable.



Anonymous said...

Sassy! Maybe she should be our DC.

Juan Solo said...

she would be better than willie

Anonymous said...

that may be true but I don't want to wait till 09 to find out.

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake about it, Suzanne Yoculan is the best HC at UGA. Damn - hate to hear she's retiring. She's brought a lot of pride & talent to Georgia.
Damn Good Dawg!

JasonC said...

She is one hell of a marketer too. Granted, it is easier to market yourself when you are winning, but make she was definitely the 2nd most notable coach while I was there. And the gymdogs regularly filled more seats than the basketball team.

Anonymous said...

She's the greatest. That Utah coach started winning back when practically no other teams were even competing. She's dominated the last 10-20 years, and she's probably the greatest UGA coach ever too. When we don't win it all we finish 2nd or 3rd. Personally I get a bit tired of the typical Southern 'morality police' around here always trying to pass judgment on her personal life. I'll take a football or basketball coach just like her any day of the week. Nonstop winner who genuinely cares about her players, what's not to like there?!? She says the program has been on 'autopilot' the last few years anyway, but I can't help but imagine there will be an eventual decline without her... I hope she realizes how much most fans here appreciated her and this run the program has been on. Hopefully something will be named after her in the future and she goes out with a bang winning our 4th straight NC.

GATA girls - Go Dawgs!

Unknown said...

It's over, I just want to cry:

Trey said...

"Winners make adjustments."

Yes, yes they do. I've been saying this for a couple of years now. Usually, they make them in the first half. You know, right after they've shown you the three plays they plan to run for the rest of the game.

Anonymous said...

She going to move to be close to her boyfriend in Columbus? I can not believe that her character issues have been overlooked throughout her career. Guess the program can be bought afterall.

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake about it, the new practice facility wouldn't be in existence if not for CSY.

Anonymous said...

There's no question she is a great coach, savvy marketer and total winner in athletics. But, technically, the "greatest coach overall that UGA has ever had" title should go to Dan Magill. His longevity as a coach and the year after year success of the tennis program is a result of him just loving UGA and practically working for free. When he started, no one - and by no one I mean the UGA administration - cared about anything besides football. Suzanne was hired with an agenda, and the AA and the academic brass were more than supportive financially and in a number of other intangible ways that Dan never had. Just looking for a little perspective here, guys; that's the job us Olde Fartes have. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Success on the mats." That's funny right there.

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