The 2015 ECAC Gymnastics Championships from Gross Sports Center at West Point, N.Y.
Army's gymnastics program ascended to new heights since the inauguration of the Doug Van Everen era at West Point in 1990. Now in his third decade, the level of success the 22nd-year mentor has reached is the reason the Black Knights continually rank among the nation's leaders. Van Everen reached milestones in 2004 and 2005, leading Army to its first team bid to the NCAA Championships since 1963 as the No. 12 seed in 2004. The Black Knights made a return trip the following year after capturing their first ECAC title in 44 years, earning the automatic bid along with grabbing the No. 11 spot. The veteran mentor was presented with his 100th win along the banks of the Hudson on March 6, 2005, in a road victory at Springfield just one year after posting his 100th career coaching victory over Navy in Annapolis, Md. Van Everen has compiled a 56-43-1 mark over the past nine years, including a 13-1 record in 2003, along with an 11-1 showing that accompanied the ECAC Championship in 2005. After finishing runner-up for the Eastern title in 2003 and 2004, Van Everen and his Black Knights reached the pinnacle of college gymnastics on the East Coast in 2005 when they secured the Academy's first Eastern crown since 1962. Army has also dominated the service academy rivalry during Van Everen's tenure at West Point, sweeping the first seven All-Academy Championships, along with compiling a 15-1 dual mark against Air Force and a 12-3 verdict versus Navy during that span. Under Van Everen's tutelage, the Black Knights ranked as high as No. 9 nationally in 2003 and 2004, and listed 10th in 2005. Since taking over the program in 1990, Van Everen shows a 125-130-1 mark at West Point. His teams have been well represented individually at the NCAA Championships, while qualifying as a team in 2004, 2005 and 2007. The Black Knights qualified individually in 2006 when injuries decimated their ranks, while a school-record 12 individuals met the standard in 2003. Committed to excellence, Van Everen is one of the most respected coaches in his profession. He was awarded East Regional "Coach of the Year" honors on the eve of the 2005 NCAA Championships, hosted by the U.S. Military Academy. It was the third time in his tenure and second over a three-year span that he garnered that award. The honor came two weeks after guiding the Black Knights to an 11-1 record and the ECAC Championship. For that achievement, he copped ECAC "Coach of the Year" accolades for the second time. His gymnasts defeated defending ECAC champion and NCAA qualifier Temple during a 12-meet win streak in 2003 for their best start since 1979 en route to a 13-1 mark. That momentum carried into the postseason with a pair of runner-up finishes at the ECAC and USAGC Championships, while closing with an NCAA All-America certificate, five USAGC All-Americans and one USAGC national champion. An excellent recruiter, Van Everen has coached several of the finest gymnasts in Army history. Under his guidance, Imad Haque, Ben Hayward, Mike Sivulka, Steve Marshall, Dustin Greenhill, Troy Pazcoguin, Matt Eckerman, John Robella and Brian Lee all laid claim to national and regional honors. He has tutored four NCAA All-Americans and 12 Eastern champions who won 17 titles. Haque, a 1993 and 1994 Eastern still rings champion, was the first All-American coached by Van Everen following a sixth-place finish at the 1994 NCAA Championships. Hayward was a three-time Eastern pommel horse champion, who added an All-America certificate to his brilliant career following a fifth-place finish at the NCAAs in 1997. Greenhill and Lee finished runner-up on the parallel bars (2003) and still rings (2005), respectively, for the highest showing in Van Everen's tenure. Also claiming Eastern titles were Sivulka, Marshall, Pazcoguin, Eckerman, Robella, Lee, Mike Oliveira (2005),George Rhynedance (2006), Eliot Proctor (2007), with Garek Hojan-Clark (2011) the latest addition. Sivulka, a two-time Eastern pommel horse champion (1994 and 1995), ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout most of his junior year and was among the national leaders at season's end. A parallel bars Eastern champion in 1995, Marshall captured the all-around title the following year to become the first Black Knight to win that crown since 1939. Marshall ranked as high as second nationally in all-around throughout his senior year, and was among the top 10 in each of the six individual events. He also earned a spot on the senior national team in 1995 and was third on the vault at the USA Championships. Marshall was inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame with the second class in 2005. Pazcoguin, a four-time NCAA qualifier, listed among the national leaders on vault his junior and senior campaigns. He was tabbed the "Senior Athlete of the Year" at the Eastern Championships in 2002 after garnering rookie honors in 1999. Eckerman became just the second Black Knight to capture an Eastern crown on floor exercise and first since 1980 when he claimed the title in 2002, with Robella winning that crown the following year. Lee captured Army's first still rings crown in 10 years at the 2004 meet. He also finished sixth on the rings at the Winter Cup Challenge and ranked No. 2 in the country all season. Oliveira and Hojan-Clark are two of four sophomores under Van Everen to win a title when they copped medalist honors on parallel bars and pommel horse at the 2005 and 2011 meets, respectively. Rhynedance made school history in 2006 when he joined his father George Sr. (1980) as an Eastern champion. Four Army gymnasts earned five USAGC All-America certificates at the 2003 championships. Lee, crowned a national champion on still rings, joined Mike Tiffany (parallel bars, still rings), Chris Kennedy (pommel horse) and Robella (high bar) in garnering All-America honors. Robella was also named a USA Gymnastics scholar-athlete. Three more picked up All-America honors at the 2011 meet in Hojan-Clark (pommel horse), Jared Breeden (still rings) and Chase Brown (floor exercise), along with a pair of scholar-athlete certficates awarded to Brown and Jonathan Hoey. All but one of 14 school records (team and individual) were shattered during Van Everen's tenure before a new scoring system was implemented in 2008, geared towards an open-ending scoring system. Army broke the school vault record during a period when the rules for scoring made it difficult to receive high marks. Van Everen guided the Black Knights to runner-up honors at the ECAC Championships three times over a six-year span. Army's placing in 1999 was its highest in over a decade, and the Black Knights repeated in 2003 and 2004. Army gymnasts have also excelled as students. The Black Knights ranked among an elite group of 20 teams selected in 1998 for national academic honors by the College Gymnastics Association. Army placed 12th with a 3.07 team grade-point average, beating both Navy (15th) and Air Force (16th). Jeff Means, Hayward and John Doss were among 49 individuals honored as scholar-athlete All-Americans, who earned a 3.5 grade-point average or better, while Oliveira was named a College Gymnastics Association 2005 All-America scholar-athlete. In addition to turning out nationally ranked gymnasts, the U.S. Military Academy has become a showcase as one of the premier venues for prominent gymnastics meets. Army served as the host for the 63rd NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships in 2005 and was the venue again in 2010. The Black Knights hosted the ECAC Championships in 2008 and 2009 at Gross Sports Center. Van Everen, who worked tirelessly to bring that event to West Point, also administers the annual West Point Open, one of the largest meets on the East Coast. Prior to becoming Army's sixth head coach, Van Everen was the head mentor at San Jose State for three years (1987-90). He directed his squad to an 8-11 record and a trip to the NCAA Western Regionals his final year in compiling a mark of 12-32. Van Everen has made a name for himself on the national level. He has served as president of the College Gymnastics Association and coached the USA national team in 1995 and 1996. He has also served as chairman of the NCAA Gymnastics Rules Committee, has been on the Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics and developed the College Gymnastics Foundation in 1996 for which he currently serves as president. Van Everen graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1987 with a degree in physical education. A four-year letterwinner as an all-arounder, he led CSF to the NCAAs in 1985. The experience gained working at clinics, clubs, camps and youth gymnastics started Van Everen on the path to coaching and helped secure the head position at San Jose State following his graduation from college. During that coaching stint, he earned his master's degree in athletic administration from St. Mary's of California in 1990. Six years later, Van Everen completed his doctoral requirements in athletic administration at the University of New Mexico. Van Everen and his wife Terri reside at West Point with their two sons, Kirk (22) and Connor (18). Kirk, a 2011 USMA graduate, is currently the athletic intern for the gymnastics team.