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'She is an icon, she is LSU': Former All-American Gymnast reacts to D-D Breaux retirement

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BATON ROUGE - Hundreds of former LSU gymnasts spent time reflecting on the fond memories they share with now-retired head coach D-D Breaux on Tuesday following her announcement.

One of those gymnasts, Maliah Mathis, was an all-around gymnast for the tigers from 2010 to 2014. She received the All-American distinction her junior year and the team finished third place overall at the NCAA Super Six Finals her senior year.

The Texas native says she quickly fell in love with LSU and the new family that she formed, with Breaux as the matriarch.

“She just embodies, it’s so cliche, but like what a fighting tiger is,” Mathis said.

The memories of her former fierce head coach stand out for Mathis just as they did six years ago. 

“I’m about to go on vault, and she would just kind of start asking me about if I had seen the magnolias start blooming on campus. Just to kind of like get me to calm down and talk about different things,” Mathis said.

The compassion and care Breaux had for her athletes didn’t stop on the matt or when practice was over, according to Mathis.

“Just like the family atmosphere. Like we know everyone in her immediate family. We’ve been to her house, we’ve been to her sister's house,” Mathis said.

After hearing Tuesday morning that Breaux was stepping down from her head coach position, Mathis wanted to make sure Breaux knew how much she’s meant to her and to many other young women who shes coached and mentored.

“What I texted her this morning was just thank you for making me into the resilient woman that I am today,” Mathis said.

Grit and determination; that’s what Mathis says Breaux will be remembered for. And not only for what she did for LSU Gymnastics but for the entire university and even the greater Baton Rouge area. That’s regardless of the one piece of hardware missing from living legend’s collection.

“She is an icon. And she is LSU. Not even just like LSU gymnastics, but she is LSU. And if there is anyone who deserves a national championship, it is D-D,” Mathis said.

Mathis says she has a hard time believing that Breaux will be a typical retiree but she does believe LSU Gym will bring home a national championship for Breaux very soon.

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