Valorie Kondos Field - aka Miss Val, as she’s affectionately known by the scores of champion gymnasts she’s coached over her career - has no background in gymnastics. She never tumbled, flipped, or played any type of organized sport. And yet she became a legendary hall of fame coach through curiosity, creativity, attention to detail, and unwavering care for the overall well-being of her athletes.
Miss Val was the head coach of the UCLA Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team from 1991 to 2019, leading the Bruins to seven national championship titles. She is a four-time Conference Coach of the Year, the 2018 West Region Head Coach of the Year, and the Pac-12 Gymnastics Coach of the Century. She is the third most-winning NCAA gymnastics coach in history.
Miss Val grew up in Sacramento, California. She was a professional ballet dancer with the Sacramento Ballet, Capital City Ballet, and the Washington, D.C. Ballet. In 1982, at age twenty-two, she retired from dancing to become a student at UCLA while serving as an assistant coach and choreographer for the UCLA Women's gymnastics team. She graduated from UCLA in 1987 with a degree in history.
Crediting her mentor, legendary basketball coach John Wooden, and the Olympians and athletes with whom she’s worked, Miss Val’s success is due to her extraordinary leadership and mentorship of young student-athletes, and how she uses gymnastics as an avenue through which to teach valuable life lessons.
In her book, "Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance", Miss Val shares personal stories, anecdotes, and lessons learned throughout the 37-year career of a dancer/choreographer turned athletic coach. She shares stories about the Olympians and athletes with whom she’s worked, explains how her diagnosis with breast cancer actually turned into one of the best years of her life, and expounds on how she shaped her UCLA Gymnastics program as a life skills class. For Miss Val, it’s not about winning and losing, it’s about choreographing your life.
The After The Glory team also urges our listeners to check out Miss Val’s 2019 Ted Talk:
Valorie Kondos Field is married to retired UCLA Associate Athletic Director and former football coach, Bobby Field.