Brooks Hatch of the Gazette Times in Corvallis, Ore., described it this way:
"It was legendary. It might have been the most impressive post-season NCAA performance since UCLA's Bill Walton shot 21-22 against Memphis State in basketball a generation ago."
Without question, the 1993 Georgia Gym Dogs was a team for the ages. Heading into the season, head coach Suzanne Yoculan had a hard time believing that she could possibly have a team that was this good. "This is the closest team to a perfect 10 that we've had since I've been here," said Yoculan. "We look so good I don't know whether to look at it as a nightmare or a dream."
It turned out to be a dream.
The Georgia gymnastics team dominated the competition at the 1993 NCAA Championships in Corvallis, Ore., becoming the first team ever to score 198.0 to easily outdistance second-place Alabama (196.825). Georgia set NCAA team record on vault (49.75), bars (49.75) and floor (49.6).
The Gym Dogs started the Super Six competition on the uneven bars, which was the team's nemesis at NCAAs one year earlier. Instead of a repeat of the 1992 performance, Georgia turned in the most prolific bars performance in history, scoring a 9.9 and three 9.95s to go along with a 10.0 by freshman Lori Strong. Georgia had established a half-point lead over the competition after just one event.
From that point, the Gym Dogs moved confident through the remaining three events, with an impressive performance on the beam and 10.0s on floor from senior Heather Stepp and Hope Spivey-Sheeley. After three rotations, Georgia held a 1.25 lead over Alabama with the Tide on beam and the Gym Dogs on their premiere event, the vault. With 10.0s by Agina Simpkins and Stepp, Georgia topped its NCAA record vault score with a 49.75 to secure the national championship.
"There was an unbelievable amount of energy throughout the arena and you could feel our team building to a climax," said Yoculan, who was named the 1993 NCAA Coach of the Year.
Seven Georgia gymnasts brought home All-America honors, combining for a total of 13. Stepp capped a brilliant career with individual national championships on the vault and the floor exercise, scoring a perfect 10.0. Simpkins also claimed an individual championship, scoring a 10.0 in the event finals of the uneven bars.
Proud team members and assistant coach Jay Clark raise Hope Spivey for her stellar performance at Nationals, where she received a 10.0 on floor and earned three first-team All-America honors.
"The Oregon newspaper read, 'Georgia is in a League of their Own,' and we were. We marched out on a mission, hit our first event and never looked back. If there was competition, we never felt it. This was a team where leadership and confidence made the difference."
- Coach Suzanne Yoculan
"The 1993 Championships team was one of persistence and strength. Having turned in a disappointing second-place finish in 1992, we were determined to capture a win. In our 'lipstick' red and black leotards, we hunkered down and put in a near perfect performance. Although it was an awesome feeling to win a National Championship, it was even sweeter bringing it home to share with the greatest fans in the world!"
- Sandy (Rowlette) Bent
1993 NCAA Championships
Andrea Dewey (UB), Nneka Logan (FX), Sandy Rowlette-Dill (V, UB, FX*), Agina Simpkins (AA, V*, UB, BB), Hope Spivey-Sheeley (V, UB, FX), Heather Stepp (AA*, V, UB, FX), Lori Strong (UB).
(* denotes second-team award)
Members of the 1993 Championship Team:
Jennifer Carbone, Andrea Dewey, Nneka Logan, Kelly Macy, Sandy Rowlette-Dill, Agina Simpkins, Courtney Snyder, Hope Spivey-Sheeley, Heather Stepp, and Lori Strong.
Staff of the 1993 Championship Team:
- Suzanne Yoculan, Head Coach
- Jay Clark, Assistant Coach
- Doug McAvinn, Assistant Coach
- Caryn Demarest, Athletic Trainer