KALAMAZOO—University of North Carolina gymnastics assistant head coach Penny Jernigan was announced Thursday, Aug. 1, as the new head coach for Western Michigan University gymnastics.
"We are extremely lucky and excited to announce Penny Jernigan as our next gymnastics coach. She comes with a vast amount of experience not only as an assistant at North Carolina but also as a judge," says WMU Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard.
Jernigan brings nearly 20 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Bronco gymnastics team, which clinched the Mid-American Conference championship last season.
In 18 years with the Tar Heels, Jernigan developed several talented student-athletes, including two-time NCAA champion and national record holder Courtney Bumpers, who earned All-America on balance beam in 2003 and on floor exercise in 2004 and 2005.
"I am so thrilled about this opportunity and about being the head coach for Western Michigan gymnastics. I want to thank all of the people who were a part of this process from Kathy Beauregard and Dr. John Dunn to the members of Kathy's senior staff and, of course, the student-athletes," said Coach Jernigan. "Everyone I have met have been amazing individuals. I am very excited to start working on maintaining and elevating the level of success of this program."
Jernigan coached the only three UNC gymnasts to ever earn perfect scores of 10.00—Bumpers and Anna Wilson on floor exercise in 2003 and Brooke Wilson on balance beam in 2001.
The 1992 Campbell University graduate has extensive coaching experience outside the collegiate level, having served as head coach of the Level 10 Elite Girls Team with the GymCarolina Gymnastics Academy from 1992 to 1998. She also has been a national judge for the National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges since 1994.
Jernigan served as a rules interpreter for women's gymnastics at the NCAA during 2012-13. She was named the NCAA Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2004 as well as the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011.