Central Michigan gymnastics coach placed on administrative leave pending investigation

Jerry Reighard on paid administrative leave

Central Michigan University gymnastics coach Jerry Reighard (CMUChippewas.com)

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Central Michigan has placed head gymnastics coach Jerry Reighard on leave pending an internal investigation, the school announced.

Reighard has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to CMU's website.

Associate head coach Christine MacDonald will lead the team during Reighard's leave, the school announced.

No additional details have been revealed.

Here is Reighard's full bio on CMUChippewas.com:

Jerry Reighard has built Central Michigan gymnastics into the premier program in the Mid-American Conference and has put the Chippewas prominently on the map at the regional and national levels.

Reighard took over the program in 1984-85, and by 1990, led the Chippewas to their first – but far from last -- title at the MAC Championships. In 2018, Reighard guided CMU to both the MAC regular-season title and a first-place finish at the MAC Championships in their home gym, McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas captured that crown in dominant fashion, posting a 197.025, the third-best in program history. Paving the way were historic team performances on the balance beam and the uneven bars. CMU tied the 14-year-old program record with a 49.475 on beam, and posted an outstanding 49.400 on bars, tying for the third-highest score in that event in program history.

Three Chippewas – Katy Clements (beam), Sydney Williams (vault) and Gianna Plaksa (all around) -- captured individual MAC titles.

It marked the 16th time – far and away the most in league history -- that CMU has placed first at the MAC Championships. A record five consecutive of those crowns came in 2010-14. CMU’s MAC regular-season title in 2018 was its eighth in the 16 years the conference has crowned a regular-season champ. That is also a record.

Reighard has been the man pulling the levers for all of those titles, and he has been named the MAC Coach of the Year nine times.

Five Chippewas, beginning with Reighard’s daughter, Kara, in 2005, have earned the MAC Gymnast of the Year Award; eight have earned the league’s Senior Gymnast of the Year Award; and six have been named the conference Freshman of the Year.

In 2018, CMU’s Katy Clements (beam) became the second All-American in program history – following Kylie Fagan (bars) in 2015 – and became the first in program history to capture both a MAC and an NCAA Regional individual title and earn All-American honors.

Reighard has coached Chippewa student-athletes to eight individual NCAA regional championships, including six in the last five years. In 2018, sophomore Denelle Pedrick became the first in program history to twice qualify for the NCAA Championships when she captured the regional crown on the floor exercise. In 2017, she won the regional title on vault, thereby qualifying for the NCAA.

The Chippewas have won more individual MAC titles in the sport’s four disciplines – vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise – than any other program. CMU ranks first in uneven bars champions (17), floor exercise champions (22) and balance beam champions (12), and is second in vault champions (12).

In addition, CMU gymnasts have been crowned the all-around champion at the MAC Championships a record 14 times. In all, 76 times CMU student-athletes have stood at the top of the podium at the MAC Championships.

Reighard has led the Chippewas to a 522-258-5 record during his tenure and in 2003 he was named the NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year after guiding the Chippewas to a best-in-program-history second-place finish at the NCAA Regional.

CMU has made 15 regional appearances under Reighard, all in the last 20 years. Reighard was named the National Invitational Tournament Coach of the Year in both 1998 and in 2000. Under Reighard, the Chippewas have won seven individual regional championships.

Individually, Reighard’s gymnasts have left an indelible mark on the MAC during his three-plus decades in charge of the program. CMU’s Katie Teft, Sara Burtinsky, Nikki Liphardt and Kara Reighard still hold MAC Championship records on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and all-around, respectively. The Chippewas hold the MAC Championships records for team scoring on vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and overall, all four of which have stood for more than a decade.

Eight-four times CMU gymnasts have made the MAC Championships all-tournament team, and 15 times (four first-teamers, 11 second-teamers) Chippewa gymnasts have been named to the All-MAC squad since it was instituted in 2013.

The success of the program extends outside the gym. Eight Chippewas have been named a MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete in the three years that the league has presented the honor, and 69 times – more than any other school -- CMU gymnasts have been named Academic All-MAC.

Reighard’s teams have ranked in the top 20 nationally in grade point average seven times during his tenure.

Reighard holds two degrees from CMU, a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and technology and a master’s in physical education and sport administration. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at CMU in 1975 and coached the boys and girls teams at Ionia High School for a decade, leading the Bulldog boys to state championships in 1983 and ’84.

Reighard, a Westland, Mich. native, has been a nationally rated judge since 1975 and an internationally rated judge since 1980. He has judged a variety of national and international meets and was a master scorer at the 1996 Olympics, worked at the 1991 World Championships, and has served as a judge at the Olympic Trials.

Jerry and his wife Nancy, a CMU assistant for 16 years, have been married for 43 years. Nancy is a former CMU gymnast and a member of the 1976 squad, the only in program history to qualify for national competition. They and have four adult children, Brett, Kara, Jill and Mark., and one grandchild.

Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.