Former assistant Hinton to head Tribe women’s gymnastics; focus on recruiting

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COURTESY IMAGE / TRIBE ATHLETICS

Kelsey Hinton, former William and Mary assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, was named head coach Aug. 8.

“I am honored to step into the position of head coach for the women’s gymnastics team,” Hinton said. “I look forward to engaging with our alumni and fans as well as continuing the growth and excitement of our program.”

Hinton boasts a unique resume with diverse coaching experiences prior to her four-year tenure with the College. Her previous job saw her serving as the class program manager and girls team coach at Kidsport Gymnastics Academybased in Burlington, North Carolina. While at KGA, Hinton earned the award for North Carolina Coach of the Year in 2015. Hinton spent eight years shaping the girls program at the academy and honing her own leadership skills through the creation of practice plans, management of the building, and providing oversight for various special projects. She also evaluated talent for the academy, which gave her the tools necessary to step into her job as recruiting coordinator for the Tribe.

Hinton believes strong recruitment to be the foundation of the program, and she is determined to continue to attract talented student athletes to her program.

“It all starts with our student athletes, and we will recruit the best and brightest to represent William and Mary,” Hinton said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Hinton will be stepping in to replace former head coach Mary Lewis, who announced Dec. 5 that the 2019 season would be her last with the Tribe. Prior to her retirement, which took effect in June, Lewis was the longest tenured women’s gymnastics coach in school history, with 25 seasons at the helm of the program.

“It’s been an incredible journey and retiring will be bittersweet,” Lewis said. “… I’ve had the pleasure and honor to coach so many remarkable young women. I have loved getting to know them as people, not just as athletes, and I will miss that more than anything else.”

Lewis and Hinton have worked closely together since Hinton joined the coaching staff four years ago. Since then, the College has earned three top-three finishes, including two runner-up finishes, at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships. On the individual level, Hinton’s recruitment efforts have certainly helped propel the Tribe to new heights. During her tenure with the team, the College’s individual gymnasts have posted seven ECAC individual titles and 24 all-conference honors.

Additionally, the women’s program has shone academically under Lewis and Hinton’s combined leadership; the female gymnasts at the College have garnered more academic honors than almost any other program. During Hinton’s tenure, the team has earned 34 National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches Scholastic All-America honors.

Athletic Director Samantha Huge reaffirmed her faith in Hinton’s leadership potential and acknowledged her previous success with the team.

“Kelsey is an outstanding gymnastics coach and an even better person,” Huge said. “Having had the chance to watch her up close and speaking with colleagues and student athletes, it was clear that not only could Kelsey maintain outmomentum in women’s gymnastics but take us to even greater heights. We are thrilled that she will lead our program forward.”

As the regular season doesn’t start until December, Hinton will have time to adjust to her role-change before competitive meets begin. The roster she will have to work with, however, is markedly different than last season’s, as the College lost a handful of talented seniors to graduation, including Madison Dwyer, Sophie Harris, Regan Sindelar, Katie Webber and Anna Weiskopf.

However, the strong leadership of rising seniors Caroline Caponi, Erika Marr, Evan Pakshong, Elizabeth Snoddy and Taylor White combined with talented underclassmen recruited by Hinton herself should be more than enough to provide Hinton with a winning lineup.