Clark Named Gymnastics Co-Head Coach
BATON ROUGE – Jay Clark, a 29-year veteran of college gymnastics, has been elevated to co-head coach of the LSU gymnastics team, head gymnastics coach D-D Breaux and LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward announced Friday.
Clark is regarded as one of the best recruiters in the sport and the top bars coach in collegiate gymnastics history. The Tigers’ associate head coach over the last seven seasons, Clark’s leadership and expertise has helped bring unprecedented success on the recruiting trail and in the gym.
“I am truly honored to continue on the tradition and legacy that DD has built here in Baton Rouge,” Clark said. “I am grateful to D-D and our administration for this tremendous vote of confidence.”
“The last seven years have been ones of tremendous growth for our program, and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue this progress with D-D and the amazing young women we have been fortunate enough to coach. LSU is a special place for me and my family, and I’m excited to continue working in the gym and on the recruiting trail.”
Clark and Breaux bring more than 70 years of experience in collegiate gymnastics. Breaux most recently completed her 42nd year as the head coach of the LSU program. The longest tenured coach in SEC history, Breaux earned her 800th win in April when LSU advanced to the NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final for the eighth time.
“I am so excited for Jay,” Breaux said. “He has meant so much to this program and to me personally. The last seven years have been so great because of his commitment to excellence in everything we do. Jay is an excellent coach and recruiter, and this promotion and all that comes with it is so deserved.”
During the time since Clark’s arrival, LSU has earned the best performance in school history as the NCAA Runner-Up in 2016, 2017 and 2019, appearances in the NCAA Championship Finals in six of seven seasons, numerous school records, produced seven NCAA individual national champions, and five SEC tournament and regular season championships.
His work with the Fighting Tigers of LSU has not gone unnoticed. Clark has been named the Central Region Co-Assistant Coach of the Year along with fellow LSU assistant Bob Moore five times.
Clark also earned the 2014 and 2017 National Co-Assistant Coach of the Year award with Moore. It marked the third time in his distinguished coaching career he has garnered the nation’s top award. He was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame in 2018. Because of his recruiting success, ESPNU and ESPN the Magazine selected Clark as the ninth-best recruiter in all of collegiate athletics in 2011.
In the gym, Clark is viewed as the top bars coach in collegiate gymnastics history. Clark has coached the Tigers to 30 All-America honors on bars, four of the five highest bars team scores in school history and the top two bars title winners in LSU history.
Clark tutored Sarah Finnegan who ended her career in April as one of the greatest gymnasts in LSU history. Finnegan became the first NCAA bars champion in school history in 2017 and earned the title once again in 2019.
Before Clark joined LSU after he spent 20 seasons at the University of Georgia where he helped guide the Gym Dogs to seven NCAA National Titles and 14 Southeastern Conference Championships.
Clark primarily coached bars at Georgia, and he coached the Gym Dogs to 64 All-America honors and seven NCAA individual national titles on bars, including two-time champions Courtney Kupets and Kat Ding.
From 2009-12, Clark served as the head coach at Georgia, and during that time the Gym Dogs captured three NCAA individual national championships, won the 2012 NCAA Auburn Regional, and produced 23 All-America honors. In 2012, his Georgia team won the Bulldog Cup, which recognizes the UGA team that excels academically, supports their peers in athletics and consistently serves the community.
Prior to his stint as head coach, Clark was the recruiting coordinator at Georgia from 1999-2009 while serving as assistant coach from 1999-2004 and associate head coach from 2005-09 when Georgia won an NCAA record five-straight national titles.
Clark also coached at the club level for 13 years from 1992-2005 as the founder, owner and head coach of Classic City Gymnastics in Athens, Georgia. He coached several Classic City gymnasts to state, regional, national championships and to the Junior Olympic National Team, and eight gymnasts went on to compete collegiately at the NCAA Division I level.
A native of Roswell, Georgia, Clark earned his undergraduate degree in exercise science from Georgia. During his college career he also worked as a Physical Therapy Technician at Athens Sports Medicine Clinic, and he stayed in that capacity for four years until his coaching career began at Georgia.
Clark is married to the former Julie Ballard, an All-American Georgia gymnast from 1994-98 and a native of Mandeville, Louisiana. The couple has two children – a son, Cole, and a daughter, Kinsey.
College Coaching Experience
2019-present – Co-Head Coach, LSU
2012-2019 – Associate Head Coach, LSU
2009-2012 – Head Coach, Georgia
2005-2009 – Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Georgia
1998-2004 – Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Georgia
1990-1996 – Assistant Coach, Georgia