An Evening with Coach Valorie Kondos Field ’87
Pac-12 Coach of the Century and four-time National Coach of the Year Valorie Kondos Field ’87 has lead UCLA women’s gymnastics teams to six NCAA championships: 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2010. Hear from Coach Val on the exciting 2017 season, filled with multiple perfect 10 scores and post-season accolades, and how she helps keep her team motivated. Formerly a professional ballet dancer, she credits her 13-year friendship with mentor John Wooden and his books as inspiration for her unparalleled coaching success.
About Valorie Kondos Field ’87
UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field has positioned her Bruins as one of the premier programs in collegiate gymnastics. Not only has she consistently recruited and coached some of the top talent in the world, but she has produced the results.
The Bruins won their first NCAA championship in 1997 under Kondos Field and won again in back-to-back seasons in both 2000-2001 and 2003-2004. In 2010, UCLA won its sixth NCAA title with a 24-for-24 performance in the Super Six. UCLA has remained the Leader of the Pac under Kondos Field’s tenure, winning 13 conference titles, including the inaugural Pac-12 title in 2012, to go along with 17 NCAA Regional titles. In 2015, UCLA won the NCAA Regional title, and senior Samantha Peszek won the NCAA all-around and beam titles, and in 2016, UCLA won the Pac-12 team title, and senior Danusia Francis won a share of the NCAA beam championship.
Kondos Field has been selected by her peers as the NACGC/W National Coach of the Year four times (1996, 1997, 2000 and 2001) and was also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2012. In 2010, she became just the second active coach to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. She was honored by the Pac-12 Conference in 2016 as the Pac-12 Gymnastics Coach of the Century.
Kondos Field emphasizes a team concept, but her student-athletes have also found individual success, winning 26 NCAA individual titles during her years as head coach. But even with all of her successes on the court, what gives Kondos Field most satisfaction is seeing her student-athletes succeed in all facets of their lives. Academics is a big part of that equation, and Kondos Field’s teams regularly place members on the Conference All-Academic teams and Scholastic All-American squads and annually contend for the school’s team GPA award. With legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden as her role model and cherished friend, Kondos Field’s coaching philosophy stresses balance and integrity.
Kondos Field’s professional journey has been a unique one. A former professional ballet dancer with the Sacramento Ballet, Capital City Ballet and Washington, D.C. Ballet, she initially got her start in gymnastics at Agilites in Carmichael, Calif. by playing the piano for floor exercise music. From there, she became a dance coach, and under the guidance of former University of Minnesota co-head coach Jim Stephenson, learned the fundamentals of the sport.
In 1983, she was hired to be UCLA’s assistant coach and choreographer. While working under head coach Jerry Tomlinson, Kondos Field helped put UCLA Gymnastics on the map with their distinctive choreography and flair. The Bruins earned NCAA runner-up finishes in 1984 and 1989 and won six NCAA individual titles from 1987-89.
Kondos Field was appointed head coach of the Bruins in 1991 and brought in Scott Bull as her co-head coach. The duo earned West Region Co-Coach of the Year honors in 1993 and in 1994. As the sole head coach in 1995, she earned Pac-10 and West Region coaching honors and guided her team to first-place finishes at the Pac-10 and Regional Championships. Just one year later, she led the Bruins to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships, and in 1997 she became just the fourth coach in NCAA history to win a national title.
She is recognized as one of the top beam and floor choreographers in the sport. Under her guidance, UCLA has formed a reputation of having the most unique and artistic routines in the nation. Kondos Field has choreographed 18 NCAA championship routines on beam and floor, including an unprecedented three consecutive on floor from Kim Hamilton from 1987-89. She also earned the Choreography of the Year Award at the 2004 Canadian National Championships for Kate Richardson’s floor exercise routine.
A 1987 UCLA graduate in history, Kondos Field is also a freelance choreographer with extensive experience in the entertainment and gymnastics fields. She has helped to create, direct and choreograph Sea World’s Summer Nights shows for the past 25 years, and her Riptide show won a national award for Best Overall Production: $1,000,000 – $2,000,000 or More at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 2007 Big “E” Awards. In the summer of 1991, Kondos Field choreographed a summer acrobatic festival held in Lennestadt, Germany.