August 20, 2002
FORMER MEN'S GYMNASTICS
CAPTAIN ANDY MORREALE RETURNS TO NIU AS WOMEN'S ASSISTANT
DeKALB, IL - From his gym in nearby Sycamore, Andy Morreale has
witnessed and contributed to the development of the Northern Illinois
University women's gymnastics program. Now the four-year letterwinner
for the Huskie men's team in the early 1980's will be involved first-hand
as head coach Mark Sontag has named Morreale his assistant coach.
to the women's program marks his second tenure as a coach at Northern
Illinois. A former team captain, he joined his former coach Chuck Ehrlich's
staff with the men's program for two seasons from 1985-86. With two years
of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, Morreale ventured out
on his own by opening Gym-Kats, Inc. which became the Energym Sports Campus
"I'm very excited
about this opportunity," Morreale said. "The university has
changed so much from when I was there 20 years ago. It's a bitter sweet
return for me because we no longer have the men's program. I look forward
to working with Mark and my brother Sam, who competed here and will be
a volunteer assistant for us, in building a strong tradition on the women's
side like we had with the men's team."
Over two decades ago
Morreale's association with Northern Illinois began as a student-athlete
after graduating from Addison Trail High School. During his four years
with the Huskies, NIU twice placed in the top ten at the NCAA Championships,
highlighted by a sixth-place showing at the 1982 summit. The following
year, the Huskies were once again among the country's elite with their
eighth-place performance. Away from DeKalb, Morreale took 13th at the
United States Gymnastics Federation's 1983 Midwest Regional and competed
at the Championships of USA from 1982-85.
"Andy has been
producing college level gymnast for a long time," Sontag said. "I've
recruited his gymnast here and when I was at Southeast Missouri. The girls
from his gym are always well rounded and have a good head on their shoulders.
I have a lot of respect for his coaching technique and how he treats the
athletes. Our coaching philosophies will complement each other in that
our first priority is the athlete."
The quality of Morreale's
coaching at the club level speaks for itself. Since he opened Gym-Kats
in 1986, he has produced 25 state and regional champions while Amy Bohn
qualified for the Junior Olympic National Team. She is just one of the
numerous gymnasts who have earned individual medals throughout the years
at the Junior National and Elite National competitions.
he started at Energym has flourished and now he's ready to move on to
the next level," Sontag added. "To be able to bring in a local
alum, with that kind of talent, is a win-win situation for the Northern
Illinois gymnastics program."
Named the USA Region
5 Coach of the Year in 1995, Morreale has had three of his gymnast go
on to compete at Northern Illinois. The first was Stacy Kocourek,
who competed from 1998-99, while current Huskie Kristie Woodin
(Lake in the Hills / Jacobs) will be joined this year by freshman Kristin
Harrington (West Dundee / Carpentersville Dundee Crown).
"I think it's
going to be a great partnership between Energym and Northern Illinois,"
Morreale noted. "Through my work with the junior national team I've
developed some great contacts in the region and nationally that I think
will really benefit the team and the tremendous community support for
NIU will help in the other sector."
The 40-year-old Morreale
is married to the former Kim Seelenbinder of Elk Grove. The couple
has three children, daughters Jessica, nine, and Allison,
five, and a ten-year-old son Andrew. He graduated from Northern
Illinois in 1985 with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration.
(For more information,
contact Michael Smoose)
Gymnastics vs. State of Illinois