ANCHORAGE – Interim athletic director Tim McDiffett announced Thursday that the University of Alaska Anchorage has hired Tanya Ho as the Seawolves’ new head gymnastics coach.
Formerly a UAA opponent as a competitor and coach at Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rivals UC Davis and Sacramento State, Ho becomes just the second head coach in 34 years of Seawolf gymnastics history.
“We think Coach Ho is a great fit for UAA Athletics and as a leader of our current and future women’s gymnastics student-athletes,” McDiffett said. “She has an impressive background as both a competitor and coach, and she is familiar with the competition level and recruiting landscape. Most importantly, I think she comes to UAA with a vision of where she wants to take the program, not only from a competitive standpoint, but also maintaining our tradition of academic success.”
For the past five seasons, Ho has aided Sacramento State to a pair of MPSF team titles and helped head coaches Kim Hughes and Randy Solorio produce 11 NCAA Regional individual qualifiers, 47 academic all-conference honorees, and the MPSF individual all-around champion in 2016.
As the Hornets’ balance beam coach from 2013-15 and their uneven bars coach from 2016-17, she also directly mentored 2017 MPSF bars champion Caitlin Soliwoda, 2016 NCAA Regional bars qualifier Cassie Benning, 2014 MPSF beam champion Elideth Guerrero, and three NCAA Regional beam qualifiers.
In 2016 she was voted by her peers as the MPSF Assistant Coach of the Year.
“I’m excited and honored to be the next leader of the UAA women’s gymnastics program,” said Ho, who originally hails from Elk Grove, Calif. “This is a tremendous opportunity, and I hope to continue the culture of academic and athletic success.”
A 2016 UC Davis Hall of Fame inductee, Ho was the first gymnast in Aggies history to qualify three straight years for NCAA Regionals and the second to reach the regional meet as an all-arounder in back-to-back years. The 2010 MPSF Gymnast of the Year as a senior, she finished with 13 career all-conference awards, nine MPSF Gymnast of the Week honors, and became the third gymnast in program history to crack the 39-point barrier when she won the MPSF individual all-around title in 2008.
Ho graduated from UC Davis in 2010 with her bachelor of science in exercise biology and served as a volunteer assistant at her alma mater for two seasons before joining the staff at Sacramento State.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT TANYA HO:
“I’m very excited for Tanya but also sad to see her go. She has great skills and will make an immediate impact for Alaska Anchorage gymnastics in terms of motivation and her coaching ability. I look forward to competing against her next season." –Sacramento State Head Coach Randy Solorio
“Observing Tanya as a coach at meets and having seen her as a competitor, I always thought she had the potential to be a terrific head coach someday. She seems to have a good connection with her student-athletes and she possesses the energy and tenacity to take UAA to the next level. Bottom line, she will do a great job.” –Former UAA Head Coach Paul Stoklos
“We are unbelievably happy for Tanya to make the next step up to the head coaching ranks. Having been a great competitor here at UC Davis and then gone on to do some really amazing things as an assistant at Sac State, we’re looking forward to all she’s going to accomplish at UAA. We’re excited that the Seawolves are going to continue with a high quality person and have someone who will take the work that Paul has done and build upon it.” –UC Davis Head Coach John Lavallee