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Gymnastics & Trampoline Milestones

Email Dr. Ed Dugas athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu if you have a Milestone/Ragin’ Cajuns First to submit. Please include sport, date, event, etc., source, along with your contact numbers.

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From Tumbling to Gymnastics to Trampoline...Back to Gymnastics and Tumbling... Then, Back to Gymnastics - A Story of Evolution and Change, Characterized by Excellent and Creativity, Culminating in World Recognition Attained by Legendary Coach Jeff Hennessy.
Click here for Jeff's Athletic Network profile.

Please click here for the Gymnastics/Trampoline Photo Gallery which contains 25 years of photos between 1941-2018. Their thread is an significant part of the university fabric and an important part of our history.

To fully understand and appreciate the origin and history of the Gymnastics/Trampoline program at the university, viewers need to be informed about the Tumbling Program which existed in various forms and degrees at the university throughout the 1900s. During the 1930s the university sponsored a Tumbling Program which was highly competitive and enjoyed high visibility in the South, Louisiana and the Lafayette area. The team, coached by Simon "Si" McNeely, competed at the highest levels possible at that time. His last year at the university was 1940. However, the team continued to promote tumbling in the area, especially at university events and in the high schools.

Please click here for the photo gallery of the 1941 Tumbling Team.  

Please click here for the photo gallery of the 1942 team.

With the strong foundation provided by the Tumbling Team, the university decided to broaden the Tumbling Program into a Gymnastics Program and to that end, the Health and Physical Education Department hired Jeff Hennessy in 1960.
Click here for the 1960 Gymnastics Team, the first Gymnastics Team at the university coached by legendary coach Jeff Hennessy.

Click here for the 1967 team photo gallery for our national champions in both Trampoline and Tumbling.  

Click here for the 1968 team photo gallery which includes Judi Ford, the first woman to win a varsity letter in athletics at the university and who went on to become 1969 Miss America. Trampoline was the talent she displayed at the Miss America contest in 1968.
Click here for Judi returning to Lafayette to reign over the 1968 Bayou Holiday Classic.
Click here for Henry Hebert's fond memories of Judi's visit to the Bayou Holiday Classic. Henry was serving as president of the Century Club, the original 100 business leaders who pledged their support for university athletics.

Click here for Judi Ford Nash's Athletic Network profile, including an update with some of her memories of USL. 

Click here for the 1972 team photo gallery depicting more gender representation on the Trampoline team.

Click here for the 1975 team photo gallery which includes the Trampoline team and the newly-formed Gymnastics team.

Click here for 1982 statement on the ending of the Trampoline program and coach Hennessy's retirement.

Click here for the 2012 Photo Gallery of Gary Smith being honored by the World Acrobatic Society as a Trampoline Legend.

Click here for Gary's Athletic Network Profile where he provides background highlights of many of his teammates, assisting viewers to understand the unique abilities of those athletes and their outstanding achievements on the world stage against the very best.

Click here for first year photo of a new UL organization, the 2018 Gymnastics Club Photo Gallery.

Click here for the 2019 UL Athletic Hall of Fame Photo Gallery to view the induction of Leigh and Jeff Hennessy.

Click here for a July 9, 2020 update written exclusively by Leigh Hennessy Robson.

Viewers are encouraged to have those who were part of the Gymnastic/Trampoline Program contact the Athletic Network at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu and provide email addresses for those who may not be connected with current email addresses in their profile. Thank you.

Peace, Dr. Ed Dugas