How did this dancer transform herself into one of the most successful gymnastics coaches ever?
I picked up Coach Wooden’s book, “They Call Me Coach”, and it didn’t seem like all this other coach talk I’d heard. It was complete with plenty of tough love, but honest love. Discipline and compassion. I was raised in the ballet world and there was a lot of discipline in my life.
“I was brought by a very typical Greek family, where a family was vital, so there was plenty of discipline with respect. And I think that the discipline, united with the love that came out of Coach’s words, struck home with me. It’s about instilling life’s lessons through the sport that we’re a part of.”
When Miss Val isn’t encouraging young athletes to be the best they can be, she is utilizing other platforms to distribute her love for life and dance. Lately, she pitched her own kind of a contemporary nutcracker ballet to Warner Bros. NBC purchased the rights to air it as a two-hour television special. The date for the live ballet show has yet to be decided.
in October 2018, she also published a book that explored how a professional ballerina became one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. The novel is titled “Life Is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance.”
The Greek American also stated her retirement last September as the head coach of the Bruins gymnastics team and she did leave at the end of the 2019 season with an incredible send-off by her team and UCLA.
Although Miss Val will be truly missed, her legend will live on. She will continue to be an incredible inspiration, encouraging people to live passionately by not giving up and finding a way to re-experience your joy.