Stoklos retires after 33 years as gymnastics coach

by Michelle Saport  |   

Paul Stoklos

Paul Stoklos was the 2004 and 2016 MPSF Coach of the Year. Courtesy: Skip Hickey

University of Alaska Anchorage Athletic Director Keith Hackett announced Wednesday that Paul Stoklos has retired as the Seawolves' head gymnastics coach.

Stoklos, who has led the gymnastics program since its founding, leaves UAA after 33 seasons, completing the longest tenure of any coach in Seawolf history. The Wisconsin native coached more than 130 letterwinners from 1985 through 2017, while guiding the Seawolf program from the NCAA Div. II independent ranks to NCAA Div. I status and membership in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

"All of the coaches and athletic department staff commit our lives to the success of our student-athletes and are entrusted with their development at a formative time of their lives," Stoklos said. "After several years of guiding them to attain a fantastic education, training them to compete to their greatest potential and providing them with life skills, we send them into the real world where they become contributing members of this community and countless others. It's this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these young adults that I will miss most."

Building the Seawolf program from scratch, Stoklos mentored 13 USAG All-Americans from 1985-2005, including USAG national champions Elena Tkacheva, Jessica Simmons and Dominique Ingram. Since transitioning to D-I and the MPSF during the 2003 and 2004 campaigns, UAA has produced 10 MPSF individual titlists - including 2006 MPSF Gymnast of the Year Jessica Portlock - and captured the 2009 MPSF team championship. Stoklos was voted the MPSF Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2016.

"Coach Stoklos has dedicated over three decades to the sport of gymnastics and over half of his life to UAA and Seawolf Athletics, making an impact on countless lives during his tenure," Hackett said. "He was strongly committed to ensuring that his student-athletes excelled in their studies first and foremost, and we are grateful for all he did for our institution and community. We wish him all the best."

In addition to their athletic successes - which have included 17 NCAA individual qualifiers in program history - the Seawolves have also consistently led the MPSF in all-academic honorees, producing 82 certificates in 15 years of league membership.

Hackett said a national search for Stoklos's replacement has begun with the goal of having a new head coach later this summer.

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