Elise Ray-Statz Announces Resignation From Gymnastics Program
SEATTLE – University of Washington Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen announced Wednesday that head women's gymnastics coach Elise Ray-Statz has resigned from her position, as Ray-Statz and her family are moving from the Seattle area.
Ray-Statz, a former NCAA All-American and Olympian, has been at the helm since 2016 after previously serving as an assistant and associate head coach. Cohen has appointed assistant coach Ralph Rosso as interim head coach for the upcoming season.
"I would like to thank Elise for her hard work and commitment to our women's gymnastics program," said Cohen. "She has been such a great culture fit in our department and was deeply respected by her student-athletes and colleagues. She has worked tirelessly with her program to represent the University of Washington in a first-class way and has established the program as a national contender in women's gymnastics. We are sad to see her go, and will miss her on Montlake, but are excited for this next adventure for her and her family and wish them well."
"It is with a heavy yet grateful heart, that I say goodbye to the incredible place that is the University of Washington," Ray-Statz said. "Though bittersweet, my husband and I have made the decision to move closer to family as we raise our young kids.
"The nine years I've coached at Washington," she continued, "have been nothing short of formative, inspiring, and remarkable. I've worked alongside so many passionate, hard-working individuals dedicated to elevating UW Gymnastics back into national prominence. I am greatly indebted to my assistant coaches, Ralph Rosso and Chad Wiest, who have stood with me through it all. Their friendship, commitment, loyalty and brilliance is unmatched. The future of UW Gymnastics is so bright."
Ray-Statz led the team to unprecedented success in her four years as head coach at Washington. In her very first year as a head coach, Ray-Statz brought the GymDawgs to NCAA Nationals for the first time since the 1990s, earning Pac-12 Coach of the Year in the process. Twice in Ray-Statz's three seasons with a postseason the GymDawgs reached Nationals, only the second time in program history Washington has made back-to-back Nationals. While there was no postseason this year, Washington still finished 11th in the country. UW has not finished outside the top 20 in any of Ray-Statz's seasons, with a school-record eighth-place regular-season finish in 2018.
"I am forever grateful for the exceptional women who have had such a huge impact on my time at UW," Ray-Statz said. "Joanne Bowers for taking a chance on a first time assistant coach and teaching me what is most important in coaching. Stephanie Rempe for seeing something in me and nudging growth with truth and encouragement. Jen Cohen and Erin O'Connell for creating a place I felt grateful to be a part of everyday and believing in me, and the vision I had for Washington Gymnastics.
"It is my honor to have coached and mentored so many amazing young women," she concluded. "I hope to have affected their lives as much as they have mine. I will take every memory and experience this world-class university, loving community and spectacular city has instilled in me into my next chapter. I am so proud to have been a Husky."
Under Ray-Statz's leadership, the GymDawgs earned three NCAA Regionals individual championships, the program's first since 2012. Washington earned eight All-American awards, including five by four gymnasts in 2020, its most since 1998 and the most individual gymnasts to earn All-American honors in the same year in program history. A total of 16 Washington gymnasts earned All-Pac-12 honors in Ray-Statz's four years, most in a four-year span since 1984-1987. Ray-Statz, who coached beam for Washington, helped five GymDawgs finish in the nation's top 25 on beam and six finish in the Pac-12's top 10. Washington earned five All-Pac-12 beam honors during Ray-Statz's head coaching tenure.
Washington also shined against top competition in Ray-Statz's four years. In 2020, the GymDawgs finished 5-1-1 in the Pac-12, the best conference record in school history. Washington also earned a 197.600 in 2020, its second-best score ever. That was one of nine times Washington broke the 197.000 mark with Ray-Statz as head coach. Four of the program's top-ten scores ever have come in the last four years.
In the classroom, the GymDawgs excelled as well under Ray-Statz's leadership, earning 29 Pac-12 All-Academic honors in four years, including a school-record ten in 2020. Two UW gymnasts earned Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar awards and Washington earned 32 WGCA All-Academic. In 2020, the GymDawgs led the Pac-12 in GPA.
Rosso, who will take over as interim coach for the coming season, has served as Washington's bars coach for three seasons. In that time, Washington has earned it's third-ever bars All-American honor, and finished 12th in the country on bars, its highest finish since 2004. Prior to coming to Seattle, Rosso coached at both George Washington and Arizona State, where he also served as an interim head coach.