Flames take first on three events; post collection of career bests
Entering their 25th season at the helm of the UIC women's gymnastics team, Peter and Mary Jansson come into 2014-15 with their collective sights on adding to their already-impressive list of accomplishments as the program's most successful coaching duo.
The Flames have attained 12 conference titles under the coaching duo in 24 seasons, along with nine NCAA regional berths and two bids to the NIT. Every school record --individual and team -- has been set under the Janssons' tenure.
In 2013-14, the Flames recorded their best score of the season with 195.200 in their final regular-season meet. Catherine Dion finished off her decorated career at UIC by being named NACGC/W Regional Gymnast of the Year and MIC Gymnast and Senior of the Year. Dion additionally competed in NCAA Regionals, alongside Gabrielle May, in the all-around and scored 38.800 to qualify as an alternate for the NCAA Championships.
The Janssons guided UIC to its 12th MIC Championship title in 2012-13. The Flames scored a 195.600 at the meet and Chantel Turk was named Conference Gymnast of the Year, while Catherine Dion and Turk went on to represent the team at the NCAA Regionals.
During the 2011-12 season, the Janssons' led the team to its ninth NCAA Regional after reaching the highest ranking in program history at No. 26. The team placed second at the MIC Championship (194.725), while Andrea Skala was named "Gymnast of the Year" and the "Senior Athlete of the Year", and both Peter and Mary Jansson were selected as the "Coach of the Year" and were named "Regional Coach of the Year" at the NCAA Regional.
Among the many other accomplishments that have occurred under the Janssons' tenure include three NCAA South Central Region Gymnast of the Year honorees, two Academic All-Americans and 13 consecutive seasons of NACG/W Scholar Athletes. Peter is a three-time NCAA South Central Head Coach of the Year, while Mary also has garnered South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year accolades three times.
Entering their 14th season together as co-head coaches, the Janssons inherited a program in 1990 that had just a .205 overall winning percentage. Since their arrival in Chicago, the Janssons have posted well over a dozen winning seasons.
For 11 seasons before their appointment as co-head coaches, Peter served as UIC's sole head coach while Mary was an assistant and choreography coordinator.
A native of Sweden, Peter assisted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1984-86 and again from 1989-90, picking up a Big Ten Championship along the way. Peter was also the Assistant Director of Gymnastics at the University of Illinois Summer Camp in 1985 and from 1987-1993. He runs clinics for both gymnasts and coaches in Sweden in the summers and brings his gymnastics knowledge closer to home as he hosts the annual UIC Girls Gymnastics Camp with Mary every summer.
Prior to earning his master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peter completed work on his bachelor's degree at the University of Stockholm in 1984. He has been nominated several times in the Who's Who Among America's Teachers Award.
A former national level gymnast from Mt. Prospect, Ill., Mary received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1982, where she also competed for the gymnastics team and was a Big Ten balance beam champion. She was a member of the Fighting Illini squad that toured and competed in Japan.
While working on her master's degree in elementary education, Mary was a graduate assistant for the Fighting Illini gymnastics team. She has also coached and choreographed at the private club, high school and collegiate levels.
In addition to her coaching duties at UIC, Mary also teaches a second- and third-grade multi-age classroom in Arlington Heights and has been nominated for several Golden Apple Awards for excellence in teaching. She was recently honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Illinois College of Education Alumni Association in 2006. She has also been selected for inclusion in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" and "Cambridge Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women in Teaching and Education."