Newt Loken, the "father of Michigan men's gymnastics," died at age 92 yesterday. Dave Brandon has a blog item about this Michigan legend (Newt Loken is Michigan Men's Gymnastics) that starts out with this:
In Michigan athletic lore, certain names are immediately identifiable with the sport. Red Berenson is hockey, Cazzie Russell is basketball, Matt Mann is swimming, Cliff Keen is wrestling, Carol Hutchins is softball and in football, there are Bo, Fritz, Fielding, etc.
In men's gymnastics, it is Newt Loken. This morning, we learned that Newt passed away in Eugene, Ore., at the age of 92.
And here's the mgoblue.com press release:
Michigan Legend Newt Loken Passes Away
June 29, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Long-time University of Michigan men's gymnastics coach Newt Loken passed away Tuesday (June 28) of natural causes in Eugene, Ore. Loken was 92 years old at the time of his death.
Loken was the head coach for the Wolverines' gymnastics program for 36 seasons (1948-83). He compiled an impressive 240-71-1 (.771) record during his career, including 12 Big Ten Conference championships. Loken coached 69 individual conference champions during his tenure.
On the national stage, Loken led U-M to the NCAA Championships in 21 of his 36 seasons at the helm. His teams claimed four national championships, winning the team title in 1963 and 1970 and claiming trampoline championships in 1969 and 1970. Loken also tutored 20 individual national champions.
The men's gymnastics training center was named and dedicated in honor of Newt Loken on Jan. 18, 2003.
The family is planning a memorial service for Loken in Ann Arbor later this summer.
Following are comments from Michigan Athletic Officials...
Kurt Golder, Michigan Head Men's Gymnastics Coach
"Newt was a wonderful individual and he lived a long and full life. His impact and influence on everyone he met was truly a gift. I was fortunate enough to not only be mentored by him as a student-athlete but as a coach as well. There are many of his principles I still use today. Newt will be missed by many, but he will always be remembered. He will forever be the father of Michigan men's gymnastics."
Dave Brandon, Michigan Athletic Director
"Newt was an iconic figure in the sport of gymnastics and in our athletic department lore. He will be remembered as an individual with great integrity and always a great attitude. Our University and the sport of gymnastics has lost a great coach and ambassador."
Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423