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LSU Gymnastics icon D-D Breaux retires after 43 seasons

3 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 03 2020 Aug 3, 2020 August 03, 2020 11:00 PM August 03, 2020 in Sports
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - 43 proves to be the unlucky number for LSU fans hoping D-D Breaux would start season 44 as head of LSU Gymnastics.

Breaux announced on social media Tuesday morning "...to my LSU family and community that I am retiring from coaching, but not retiring from LSU."

The university athletics department will retain Breaux and her expertise she gained over the years to be an ambassador for LSU.

Breaux retires from coaching as the longest tenured coach of any sport in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Though she impacted many on the mat, D-D will be remembered for her impact on the entire community.

Co-head coach Jay Clark will take over for Breaux as just the third head gymnastics coach in the school's history. 

D-D says of incoming coach, "Jay was named co-head coach in anticipation of this moment. He is a great recruiter and his coaching philosophy is demanding and produces excellence. I have confidence in my decision because the torch is being passed on to Jay."

Since the start of Breaux's first season as head coach in 1978; LSU has attracted more than 200 gymnasts including olympians to compete for the purple and gold.

According to LSU, The Tigers have placed among the top-10 teams nationally 31 times in 43 seasons with program-best second place finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions. 

 At the beginning of her career, the Tigers trained in a corner of the Carl Maddox Field House. They now utilize the top gymnastics training facility in the world..

Breaux's gymnasts have combined to win 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles. There have been 266 All-America and 91 All-SEC honors earned in 43 seasons. 

The retiring coach's top priority for LSU gymnastics student-athletes is their work in the classroom as LSU gymnasts routinely rank top of the academic podium for the university.

For her dedication to the sport and her teams' numerous accomplishments, Breaux has been recognized by her peers time and time again. In the summer of 2009, Breaux received one of the highest honors as she was voted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame. Breaux was first recognized as the National Coach of the Year in 2014 and once again in 2017. She was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. 

She has been named the SEC Coach of the Year on nine occasions (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019) and NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year nine times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017).

From passing out free tickets at the local grocery store to creating the premier gymnastics environment in the country, Breaux has built a powerhouse program through hard work and dedication.

LSU owns two records for selling out the PMAC and has an average 10,000 fans that show up to home meets. Tiger fans helped LSU finish first in the SEC in average attendance in 2018 and 2020 and third in the nation amongst any women's teams. 

The foundation for Breaux's coaching career developed long before her arrival at LSU. An excellent athlete in her own right, Breaux's affiliation with the sport began at the club level where she was a nationally-ranked gymnast by both the A.A.U. and the U.S.G.F. She was set to compete at the 1972 Olympic Trials before a career-ending knee injury forced her to retire.

Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, attended Southeastern Louisiana University, where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.

Breaux is one of eight children and comes from a great family tradition. Her parents, brothers, sisters and their spouses and children have supported the program since the coach's arrival at LSU.

Breaux has two daughters, Jewel and Sara. She is the proud grandmother to Porter, Chase, Robert and Rose. 

LSU Accolades under Breaux
8 NCAA Championship Finals Appearances (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
35 Consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances
30 NCAA Championships Appearances 
15 Individual National Titles
19 Regional Titles
1 Honda Award Recipient
3 AAI Award Winners
1 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist
266 All-America Honors
22 SEC Champions with 44 SEC Titles
93 All-SEC Honors
160 Scholastic All-Americans
7 SEC Gymnasts of the Year
6 SEC Championships

The reaction to Breaux's retirement is still unfolding throughout Tuesday including from LSU Basketball calling her a "Legend."

LSU Football head coach Ed Orgeron saying, ""Congratulations on a great career D-D Breaux!! One of the greatest coaches in LSU history!! Geaux Tigers!"

The announcement of D-D's retirement even garnered a message from Louisiana's Governor John Bel Edwards,

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