Kirsten Becker will take over the job of head coach for Penn gymnastics this season, Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun announced. Becker takes over for John Ceralde, who recently stepped down after 14 years at the helm.
Becker has been an assistant coach for the team since August 2015, and she also competed for the Red and Blue as an undergraduate, graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in communications in 2013.
As a gymnast, Becker had an impressive career at Penn. A two-time captain, she led the Quakers to back-to-back Ivy Classic championships, was twice named Penn’s Most Valuable Gymnast, and was named ECAC Gymnast of the Year. She was also named Penn’s Most Inspirational Gymnast, and was the University’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
“Her tenure as assistant coach the last five years has shown her to be a motivator, an innovator and a winner,” said Karen Rose Karpousis, the sports chairperson of the Penn gymnastics board, via Penn Athletics. “She has earned the respect of the team and the collegiate gymnastics community. I am so excited to see where Kirsten will be taking this team and am so proud that she will be leading Penn Gymnastics into the future."
Becker has enjoyed great success during her time as an assistant coach, helping lead the Quakers to an Ivy Classic title this year, as well as overseeing some brilliant individual performances. She has big shoes to fill, as Ceralde leaves behind a big legacy including five Ivy Classic titles.
Similar to Becker, Ceralde spent several years as an assistant before taking over, so she should be well prepared for the job. She takes over a talented team that recently achieved its best score in program history, breaking a 15-year record.
Becker is married to Ryan Becker, who is an assistant coach for Penn football, and was formerly a quarterback for the team.