Aug. 22, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has announced the hiring of Mo Mitchell and Nicole Curler as assistant gymnastics coaches on Monday, Aug. 22.
"We are extremely eager to bring both Mo Mitchell and Nicole Curler in as assistant coaches beginning with the 2012 season," said Klages. "With each being familiar with the Lansing area, they will both be a great asset to our program as well as in the community for years to come."
Mitchell comes to Michigan State after previously serving as head coach at the University of Kentucky from 2004 through 2010. Prior to his most recent appointment with UK, Mitchell was an assistant coach with the Wildcats from 1997 to 2004.
"I am very excited about this team and the coaching staff," said Mitchell. "We are going to work really well together and take this program to the next level."
In his second year at the helm of the Wildcats in 2006, Mitchell led UK to its first winning season in 13 years and just the second in program's history. During the year, the Wildcats posted two of the top-four team totals in school annals. Three of the top four overall have come in the past three seasons as Kentucky has continued to ascend to national prominence. The Wildcats also scored one of the biggest wins in school history when they knocked off ninth-ranked Auburn. Along with the success came a second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, at which UK finished fourth and NCAA Central Region Coach of the Year honors for Mitchell. The 2005 campaign was another building block in Kentucky's step-up into national prominence. The year saw the Cats enjoy their highest win total in over a decade, an NCAA Regional appearance and a top national ranking of No. 10. At the end of the year, Mitchell was named regional head coach of the year.
"We are very excited to have Mo join the Spartan gymnastics staff," said Klages. "He has a track record of success and a wealth of knowledge to bring to the program. His experience and desire to excel will help move this program forward to reach the team goals.
In 2009, Mitchell's squad finished in the top 30 of the GymInfo polls for the fourth consecutive year under Mitchell. Kentucky ended the season top-25 on all four events which includes Mitchell's vault squad who ranked top-15 all year, peaking at No. 7. With such a high performance team, Mitchell was able to add 10 top-10 scores to his resume. Two of those scores ranked top-three in Kentucky history.
As an assistant coach, Mitchell was responsible for recruiting, lesson plans for team training, budget, compliance and academic oversight of the student-athletes. Following both the 1999 and 2002 seasons, Mitchell was named Regional Assistant Coach of the Year at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Prior to getting into collegiate coaching, Mitchell was the program director and head coach at Lobo Gymnastics from 1995 to 1997 and the head coach at Gizi's Gymnastics from 1984-1993, both of which were located in Houston, Texas.
A native of Chicago, Mitchell attended the University of Houston and graduated in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in Engineering Technology-Piping and Design. As an assistant under legendary coach Leah Little, he made a name for himself as a phenomenal coach and recruiter. He was twice named NCAA Regional Assistant Coach of the Year (1999 & 2002). Mitchell, who has 25 years of coaching experience, started coaching at Lansing (Mich.) Eastern High School, when he was a sophomore in college.
"This is kind of becoming full circle," Mitchell said. "I got my start in Lansing, and really got started with gymnastics at Michigan State. I wasn't on the team, but I trained with a lot of the guys on the team. I am familiar with Jenison Field House, I am familiar with the area, I have a lot of family living in Michigan, so I have a lot of ties in the Greater Lansing Area. So I am really excited to be back."
After a year as an assistant coach, Mitchell was promoted to head coach and took the team to its first conference championship. His next assignment was at a private club, the Capital City Kips, in Lansing. He coached there for two years until moving to Texas to work briefly with the highly regarded Bela Karolyi.
Mitchell then spent eight years coaching at Gizi Gymnastics in Houston before joining Little's staff in 1997. He had become acquainted with Coach Little several years before and helped her with summer gymnastics camps in the Bluegrass. Under Little's tutelage, Mitchell refined his skills and learned valuable lessons about coaching at the collegiate level.
Mitchell is married to Lynn Mitchell of Cincinnati, Ohio. The couple has one son, Xavier Alexander Mitchell.
"I could not be more excited," said Curler. "I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Coaching college gymnastics has always been a dream of mine, and getting to fulfill that dream here at Michigan State just makes it even better.
"With Coach Klages and Coach Mitchell having both been head coaches, I know they will both offer a lot of experience. They will both be great mentors for me, so one day I can also be a great head coach."
The 2010 MSU graduate was the squad's lone qualifier for the 2010 NCAA Championships after finishing fourth in the all-around at the NCAA Kentucky Regional with a score of 39.175.
"Nicole is very familiar with the Spartan gymnastics program," Klages said. "After a very successful career at MSU, Nicole served as the volunteer coach for the program last season. She is young and energetic and so excited to begin her career in collegiate coaching."
In her first season following graduation, Curler coordinated the origination of all team practices, team schedules and competition line-up selections for the Spartans. The Bay City, Mich., native also assisted with choreograph of all the team's balance beam and floor exercise routines.
Prior to joining the Spartans following graduation and while still attending MSU, Curler was a coach at Gedderts' Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, Mich. While with Gedderts, Curler assisted with compulsory level gymnastics instruction on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and the floor exercise.
Curler has also assisted with the chirography for several local high schools throughout the Greater Lansing Area.
The Spartans' 2010 team MVP was a two-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honoree during her career, and was a member of the gymnastic team's leadership committee.
The four-time All-Big Ten honoree is ranked second all-time in program history with a 39.525 all-around score against LSU on Feb. 29, 2008. Curler is also fifth on the vault with a 9.925 against Oklahoma on Feb. 26. 10. Other program ranks included ninth on the balance beam (9.925 on four occasions) and fifth on the floor exercise with a 9.950 at Florida on March 16, 2007.
"Having been on the team, I already know how the program is ran," said Curler. "I know from experience what works and what doesn't. I know what these girls want to accomplish, and I know how hard they have to work to get there. I am anxious to get this year started."
Over the course of her four-year career, Curler posted six first-place finishes in the all-around and on the floor, 20 top-three all-around finishes and 11 top-three finishes on the floor. On the bars, Curler tallied 12 top-three scores, while finishing first 11 times on the beam and in the top-three 23 times. On the vault, Curler placed in the top-three on 10 separate occasions.
Mitchell and Curler replace former assistants Randy Lane and Katie Teft-Minasola.