There are many words that could be used to describe the Gym Dogs at the University of Georgia. Without question the one constant word that has earmarked the program is success. Sixty-six gymnasts have earned 331 All-American awards, and Georgia gymnasts have won 40 individual NCAA titles. Georgia leads the country in number of NCAA individual titles, and only one other team has more than 25.
Georgia also owns NCAA championship records for team scores on three of the four apparatus, as well as the best-ever championship team score of 198.575, set at the 1998 NCAA Southeast Regional. Seventy-seven gymnasts have been named to the SEC Honor Roll, and seven have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, most recently Grace Taylor in 2010.
Twenty-five years, ten NCAA Championships, 16 SEC Championships, 40 individual titles, 66 All-Americans and an absolute plethora of rabid gymnastics fans later, it appears that the Gym Dogs have...well more than accomplished the lofty goals which Suzanne Yoculan set for the program in 1984.
In her first season, Yoculan led Georgia to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships, which resulted in a modest ninth place finish. But it was only the beginning. Three years later in Salt Lake City, the Gym Dogs stood atop the awards stand as NCAA Champions. Two years after that in Athens, Ga., the Gym Dogs had their second national championship, winning it in front of the hometown fans. And four years later in 1993, Georgia won the NCAA's with arguably the greatest team ever. At the 1993 NCAAs in Corvallis, Ore., Georgia became the first collegiate team to score a 198.0, a feat that would not be accomplished again for another three years.
Five years later in Los Angeles the Gym Dogs would once again emphatically make their mark on the collegiate gymnastics world, winning their fourth NCAA Championship by the largest margin of victory in more than ten years and finishing the year with an unblemished mark of 35-0.
Not to be outdone, the 1999 team would continue the standard of excellence set forth by its predecessors, but not without a little bit of drama. The 1999 Gym Dogs won the program's fifth title and like the 1993 and '98 teams before them, did it by going undefeated at 32-0.
In 2005, not many could have predicted the run the Gym Dogs made to their sixth national title. Georgia lost four consecutive meets during the year and nearly missed qualifying to nationals with a disastrous regional meet that included four falls on the balance beam. But the team did qualify, and entered the NCAA Championships seeded 12th out of 12 teams. When the Gym Dogs left Auburn, Ala., they walked out as champions.
One word says it all when discussing Georgia's national championship run of 2006: domination. At the conclusion of the regular season the Gym Dogs were the top ranked team on every event, something Georgia had not accomplished since 1998. The 2006 Gym Dogs won the program's seventh national title and recorded an undefeated record of 36-0 for the fourth undefeated season in the program's history. No other team has done it once.
Georgia captured its third consecutive NCAA national title and eighth overall by defeating the field in Utah's Huntsman Center in 2007 with a 197.850. It was the fourth-highest score of any national champion since the Super Six format was implemented in 1993. The Gym Dogs did it despite losing two of their top gymnasts to season-ending injuries.
The Gym Dogs once again proved to be the best team in the country as they won their fourth straight national title with a 197.450 at Stegeman Coliseum in 2008. It was the fourth time the NCAAs were held in Athens and Georgia's second time winning at home. UGA concluded the year with a 31-2 record, winning all three postseason titles -- SECs, Regionals and NCAAs.
The Georgia gymnastics team found the perfect way to send Coach Yoculan into retirement in 2009: winning another NCAA title. The Gym Dogs claimed the program's 10th national title to become the first team to reach double figures. Georgia also won its fifth straight title to close the career of its venerable coach in style. Senior Courtney Kupets, who won her third all-around title, paced the Gym Dogs with a career-best four-event score of 39.9. Kupets had 10.0s on bars and vault as well as 9.96s on beam and floor.