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Mr. Gary Hunter Smith
1917 Beau Bassin Rd
Carencro, Louisiana 70520
Acadiana Gymnastics Training Center
301 Hapsburg Lane (P. O. Box 60085 mailing)
Lafayette, Louisiana 70596
|Updated May 4, 2020
Please scroll below Gary's memories of the Gymnastics/Trampoline Program for a list of his highlight accomplishments.
USL Trampoline Team Memories 1969-1973
Jeff Hennessy’s coaching career at USL is legendary, and his athletes won 13 World titles and dozens of national championships.
His greatest season, was undoubtedly 1970. In that year, USL Graduate student Wayne Miller won both national and World individual Trampoline championships and USL Synchronized Team of Donald Waters and Gary Smith won both the National and World Championships in Synchronized Trampoline in Bern, Switzerland.
Trampoline was not yet an Olympic sport in 1970 so Coach Hennessy’s USL team had captured all three gold medals against the Worlds best! Undoubtedly 1970 was his greatest season, but Jeff Hennessy and USL went on to win many more National and World titles during his years with the University.
Early 1970’s USL Trampoline team members
As a walk-on from Texas in 1969 and later a scholarship athlete 1970-73, I thought I would make a few short observations concerning some of the amazing athletes on USL’s teams.
James “Jimmy” Yongue: One of the most gifted Gymnastics athletes ever at USL. 1st trampolinist to perform two different triple somersaults in a row! USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and a World Acrobatic Society Legend .
Donald Waters: A solid athlete, leader, and friend. If the early 1970’s
USL teams had a leader, it was team captain Don Waters. A national and World Champion, Waters, a leader and a “big brother” to the younger boys and girls on the USL squad. The friend who you went to for advice. Mr. Rock Solid.
Bobby Neely: The most adventurous guy ever to grace the USL Trampoline Team. A world Synchronized Trampoline Champion, also won the world high diving championships in Canada and competed in the world parachute championships in Australia. Neely also did a triple Somersault dive off the Milton La. bridge !
Gary Smith: A walk-on from Dallas Texas, Smith was partnered with team captain Donald Waters for the first ever undefeated season in synchronized Trampoline in U.S.A. history. Smith and Waters went on to win the 1970 World Synchronized Championships. Smit won the World Invitational Individual
Championships in 1971 in Blackham Coliseum.
Jim Cartledge: A nice polite young man from rural Mississippi who used determination and old fashioned hard work to become a world champion in Synchronized Trampoline with partner Bobby Neely in 1974.
Jimmy Anderson: USL team 1967-69. Jimmy was on the 1968 USA Team and a USL letterman. Jimmy was also a member of the 1968 USL National Championship
team! A local Lafayette native, he still resides in Acadiana.
Jimmy Dugas: A USL team member from 1968-69 and member of the 1968 National Champion USL team. Jimmy left USL in 1969 to serve in the United States Navy.
Wayne Miller: Miller, along with Jimmy Yongue were Coach Hennessy’s first prodigies. A university of Michigan graduate, Miller returned to USL as a graduate student . Miller won the 1970 individual World Championships, anchoring Jeff Hennessy’s unprecedented Three Gold medal sweep at the 1970 World Championships.
Glenn Barrilleaux: Glenn was a USL Trampoline Team member During the 1971-72 Season and a member of the 1972 USL National Championship team.
Mary McDonald: An accomplished champion when she arrived at USL,Mary became even better after arriving at USL.
She was a 1971 National Champion and Synchronized National Champion in 1971-72. Mary had a personality that lit up the room. She left USL prior to graduation to pursue a successful fashion career in numerous American
cities before settling in California.
Kathy “Tex” Dodgen: An Amarillo, Texas gymnast, Kathy made her way to USL and competed in several national championships with Hennessy’s Girls team. A quick wit and quick smile were Kathy’s specialty. She was also a member of the USL Women’s Gymnastics
Judi Ford: Judi was a top athlete from Illinois at USL during the 1968-69 season. After her freshman year, Judi used her brains, beauty, and trampoline talent to win the 1969 Miss America title! Also, Judy was the 1st female to receive a full-ride athletic scholarship at USL and the first female athletic letter-winner at USL.
Leigh Hennessy: While not technically a student, Leigh was only 11 years old, but a member of our team nonetheless!
A few years later, she became a World Champion as a USL student and was only the second female athlete in USL history to have a full athletic scholarship! USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame member.
On a personal note, I would like to express my gratitude to the University of Louisiana Lafayette (USL) for my athletic scholarship and to Coach Jeff Hennessy for believing in me and giving a moderately talented kid from nowhere a chance of a lifetime. How do you thank someone who completely changed the course of your life?
My education, family, career, and destiny were all changed with one simple “Walk-On” recruitment call! I may have been a Walk-On, but I walked-on to one of the greatest college programs in America, not bad for a kid from nowhere Texas.
Gary H. Smith class of 1974
* * * * * *
* 2012 World Acrobatic Legend, Trampoline
* USL Letterman, 1970-71-72-73;
* USL Athletic Scholarship, 1970-73;
* World Syncronized Trampoline
Champion, 1970(with Donald Waters);
* Silver Medalist World Championships,
1972 Individual Competition;
* World Invitational Champion, 1972;
* 1972 National Champion US Trampoline
Association. Individual and Synchronized.
* Married Mary Gallager(USL Nursing'74);
* Master's Education Northwestern State '77;
* Started Acadiana Gymnastics, 1977;
|Gymnastics/Trampoline:|| 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973|
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