For his efforts this year, women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy
has been named the ECAC Coach of the Year, making it the second time
he has won the award in his seven years at the helm of Temple women’s
Even though Temple only managed six victories all season, Murphy
showed his ability to get the most out of his lineups when several
times he was forced to make last-minute lineup adjustments due to
pre-meet injuries. Also, Murphy’s leadership helped lead the Owls
gymnasts to winning eight ECAC weekly awards throughout the course of
In winning the award, Murphy said he was a little surprised.
“It was a bit of a big surprise to be very honest,” Murphy said. “This
is an award that is voted on by my peers, and I was very surprised
that it would go to me.”
He added, “I love the fact that they maybe see what I am doing with
[Temple’s] program, I’m not really sure what swayed them to vote for
me, but it was very touching to win this award and I was thrilled.”
Women’s gymnastics has now had gymnasts win Eastern Collegiate
Athletic Conference awards in every week of the young season. The
latest to receive a weekly honor is senior Jean Alban, who was awarded
the ECAC Gymnast of the Week, along with University of Pennsylvania
senior Dana Bonincontri.
Alban was not even in the vault line-up for coach Aaron Murphy to
start the day during the Owls most recent meet at University of New
Hampshire last Saturday. But when teammate Natali Ruzich had to be
pulled, Alban came in as an alternate and stepped up to the challenge,
posting a score of 9.425 on the apparatus.
With the entrance into vault, Alban ended up competing in four events
for the day. Marking the first time she has done so since her freshman
year, when she was the 2010 ECAC Rookie of the Year.
After vault, Alban nailed her routine on bars scoring a 9.475. Then,
Alban’s performances on beam (9.600) and in the floor exercise (9.650)
were crucial, as they helped the Owls secure second place in both
events. She ended the day with a career-high all-around score of
38.150, good enough for second place in the competition.
Alban and the Owls will look toward their only home meet of the
season, this Saturday at the main gymnasium of Pearson-McGonigle at 1
Junior Heather Zaniewski is the second gymnast in a row to win the
Eastern Collegiate Athetic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award for the Owls. The team captain followed her fellow teammate sophomore Taylor Rakus, who won the award the previous week.
In the team’s meet last Saturday at Pittsburgh, Zaniewski, competing
on the balance beam, smashed her foot during the routine. She was then
consequentially taken out of her next event (vault) because of the
Later, when Temple was in a desperate need for points, coach Aaron
Murphy sent Zaniewski out to compete in her routine on bars.
The team captain went out and nailed her routine on bars without any restraint from her nagging foot injury. She posted a team best score of 9.550 on the apparatus and was awarded with the ECAC coaches’ Choice Award for her performance through the pain.
Looking forward to the Owls’ next meet, Saturday at New Hampshire at 4
p.m., Murphy says that he expects Zaniewski to be in the lineup and
ready to compete.
The men’s gymnastics team starts its season Saturday in Annapolis, Md. at the Navy Open at 2 p.m. Temple will compete against Springfield, Penn State, William & Mary and hosting Navy.
Temple looks to continue off of last season’s success in which the squad finished first in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and 10th in the NCAA national rankings, as well as sending five gymnasts to the NCAA Nationals, including returning seniors Allan Malone and Alex Tighe.
This Saturday marks the 37th season that Philadelphia native, and American gymnastics legend Fred Turoff, will be the head coach of the men’s program. The Temple and USA Gymnastics Hall of Famer will look to lead the Owls to repeat as ECAC champions, making it Turoff’s 18th conference title in his tenure.
The women’s gymnastics team will journey to Pittsburgh Saturday for a tri-meet against Maryland, New Hampshire and hosting Pittsburgh, starting at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Taylor Rakus looks to stay in good form after an impressive display at George Washington last week. Rakus, competing for the first time since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament during her senior year of high school, aced her beam routine gathering a score of 9.600 in her first collegiate event, earning her the week’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award.
“We took this past week to work on our problem areas from the first meet at George Washington and are looking to go into this competition and be as confident and consistent as possible,” coach Aaron Murphy said about the upcoming meet. “The goal is to not count any falls to the team score at the end of the day.”