Illinois Men's Coaching Change

Justin Spring is leaving for Alabama. Dan Ribeiro is taking over.

I never saw this coming.
I do wonder if there is writing on the wall in terms of NCAA Men’s Gymnastics. Both Iowa and Minnesota dropped their teams last season, so I am curious if there is discussion about axing the Fighting Illini men’s program.

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There has been some discussion along those lines for a while. They did add 2 more teams this year, so I can only hope that somehow this can keep going.

But its D3 and with USAG support. D3 also does not offer athletic scholarships, so not held to Title 9 as far as I am aware.

I believe they are. Title 9 is about more than just scholarships. It is roster spots and opportunities.

Whoa, crazy, I never saw this coming.

Yes. I went back and checked it applies to al divisions.

The Illinois program is not in clear and present danger - at least any more than it has been for years.

It’s more about the long view.

Spring has three young kids and his wife is now a full time mom. He probably isn’t thinking about the next year or even the next 5 years. It’s more like “where can I be sure to have a job long enough to ensure I’ve got the $ to put my kids through college and have a decent retirement”.

The Alabama job offers a lot more security. The men’s NCAA may survive 20 years, or it may not.

Barring some dramatic change in the landscape of college athletics, the Alabama women’s gymnastics team is going to be there.

And yes, Title lX applies to Dlll.

Title lX applies to any school that accepts Federal funds, which is pretty much all of them.


It was my initial reaction to be honest, especially since Iowa and Minnesota both got dropped. But after thinking more rationally it began to make more sense, like you described. Especially since Ashley Johnston knows Justin extremely well having been elite athletes together and also Ashley was a WAG assistant coach at Illinois. It also make sense financially and job security wise.

I think most people (not without reason) are coming to the conclusion Illinois might be on the chopping block right now - but I did some digging around and do not think that is the case.

Ribeiro has been promoted to Head Coach and per instagram

I want the illini Nation and the gymnastics community to know who I am and what we are going to build here. I am a young, passionate, energetic, and hungry… starving to prove what me, my staff, and my athletes can do together. We have the full support of our administration and I will be bringing in a second assistant who compliments my and Don’s talents. I want a young, passionate, technician who is hungry to build a dynasty together. Someone who I can mentor into a Head Coach like Justin did for me. And I want every top recruit out there to know that jumping on the illini train will be a journey of a lifetime and my coaching staff will stop at nothing to make your dreams a reality.