Carly Dockendorf will be named the new head coach of the Red Rocks

Received this a few minutes ago:

Dear [LA Ute],

We will be announcing publicly some news I’d like to share with you first, as proud supporters and donors of the most storied program in college gymnastics. Carly Dockendorf will be named the new head coach of the Red Rocks! The release can be found below. Carly is a tremendous leader who cares deeply about the student-athletes, and is the perfect person to be the program’s next head coach. Please join me in congratulating Carly and supporting her and the program as they prepare for their upcoming season!

Mark Harlan

Athletics Director

Carly Dockendorf Named Head Coach of Utah Gymnastics Program

Mark Harlan announces promotion of Dockendorf to lead the Red Rocks program

SALT LAKE CITY —University of Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced today that Carly Dockendorf has been hired as head coach of the Utah Gymnastics program, agreeing to a contract through 2027. Dockendorf has been serving as interim head coach since November 2023.

“Carly is a tremendous leader who cares deeply about the student-athletes in our gymnastics program and is the perfect person to be the program’s next head coach,” Harlan said. “She has played an instrumental role in the successes of our program in recent years and has guided student-athletes to multiple All-America honors. Carly is highly respected in the gymnastics coaching community and her track record shows a deep commitment to helping student-athletes reach their potential and pursue greatness. She embodies all the characteristics necessary to lead one of the sport’s most storied programs, and I have no doubt that she will continue to elevate the program to new heights, producing results in competition, in the classroom and in our community that our fans and alumni can be proud of. I am excited to see Carly take the reins of this program.”

Dockendorf began as a volunteer assistant coach at Utah in 2018 and rapidly ascended to higher roles in the program. After just one year, she was promoted to Director of Recruiting Development ahead of the 2019 season, named an assistant coach in 2020, and promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2022.

“It is a dream come true to be named the new head coach of the Utah Gymnastics family and lead this spectacular program into the future,” Dockendorf said. “I am so grateful to President Taylor Randall, our athletics leadership of Mark Harlan and Charmelle Green, and the Utah administrative team for trusting me to lead the Red Rocks. The legacy that has been built will continue to hold our program at the most elite level of expectation and standard every day. We will continue building upon the foundation of excellence, and developing not only world-class gymnasts but women who will leave this program believing in themselves and ready to impact the world around them. This team is full of courage, tenacity and strength, and I am truly excited to have this opportunity to work alongside them and celebrate their brilliant talent with the No. 1 fans in the country.”

Since joining the Utah staff, Dockendorf has helped lead Red Rocks gymnastics to four consecutive Pac-12 Regular Season Championships, three straight Pac-12 Championships, three NCAA Regional titles and three consecutive third-place finishes at the NCAA Championships. She was a key member of a pair of undefeated conference seasons (2020, 2021) and has helped guide Maile O’Keefe to back-to-back Pac-12 Specialist of the Year honors and a Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year honor, as well as Alexia Burch to a Pac-12 Specialist of the Year honor. The success during the past few years has been noted by coaches around the nation, leading Dockendorf to be named a Region 2 Assistant Coach of the Year in 2020 and 2022.

Dockendorf took Utah’s beam team to the next level year after year, and is coming off consecutive seasons with the nation’s top-ranked beam team. Under Dockendorf’s guidance, the Red Rocks finished with a 49.670 National Qualifying Score (NQS) on beam in 2023, and the last year’s team recorded a 49.675 NQS. Since Dockendorf took over the apparatus, Utah has had four gymnasts earn NCAA All-America honors on beam and four gymnasts score at least one Perfect 10.

Utah finished No. 2 in the nation on beam in 2020 and backed up the performance with a No. 3 ranking in 2021 at the end of the regular season. In her first season as assistant coach, Utah’s beam team broke the school beam record that had stood since 1995 when the squad posted a 49.775 against UCLA on the road.

During the 2018 season, Dockendorf’s work as a choreographer and volunteer coach was especially beneficial on floor, where the Utes picked up four All-America awards and two postseason apparatus titles. MyKayla Skinner and Sydney Soloski won All-America honors on floor at the NCAA Championships and Skinner and MaKenna Merrell-Giles were regular season All-Americans. Skinner won the 2018 Pac-12 and NCAA Regional floor titles, tying with Merrell-Giles for the regional floor title.

Before coming to Utah, Dockendorf gained a wealth of coaching experience in various disciplines. She spent nine years as an assistant coach with the Seattle Pacific University gymnastics program and as a track and field assistant coach for three seasons. During her time at SPU, Dockendorf guided her athletes to three individual USA Gymnastics national championships on floor and two on vault.

As an undergraduate at Washington, Dockendorf won the 2003 Pac-12 uneven bar title, scoring a 10.0, and was a second-team All-American that season. She won 48 total event titles from 2002-05, including a school-record 24 titles on floor, and was a three-time regional champion. She would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communications from Washington in 2006, where she was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic selection.

She coached one year of gymnastics at Shorecrest High School and three years of track and field and soccer at the Seattle Academy of the Arts and Science before accepting the post at SPU.

Dockendorf became USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Certified in 2016 and earned a certificate from the NCAA Women’s Coaching Academy in Denver that same year.

The Port Moody, B.C., native is married to Henry Ruggiero and they have two daughters: Crosby and Hayden.

University of Utah Athletics

1825 E Southcampus Drive, Salt Lake City UT 84112

I hope she’s the right person to keep a proud program with a long legacy of success going. I don’t really follow gymnastics aside from the headlines, but as an alum and Ute fan I feel like it’s important to keep this program as one of the marquee teams at this university. I’d hate to see some hangover from the Farden and perhaps some inexperience from Dockendorf sink the program into mediocrity after competing at such a high level basically from its beginning. So here’s to some positive vibes for the new staff!!


There’s no inexperience

She was a gymnast and pole vaulter at Washington.

She’s been a college coach since 2008, taking a leave in 2010 to try and qualify for the Olympics in pole vault.

She started at Utah as a “volunteer” when her husband’s job brought them to Utah in 2018. She made such an impression they found a full time job in 2019, she became a paid assistant in 2020 and associate head coach last year.

She’s an excellent coach and the excitement of the current team, as well as former athletes is there.

She also retains all of the staff, but will need to hire one more assistant (the ncaa expanded paid assistants last year to 3)


Was Béla Károlyi unavailable?

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That sounds encouraging and like she could be a 20-30 year type coach. All the foundation is there for continued success and as long as she doesn’t abuse/belittle the athletes, should get a lot out of athletes. In the intro, it state a few of her accomplishments (like getting specific individuals to the highest performance), so there will be more of that plus overall team management and continuing to recruit the best. Here’s to continuing the streak of national championships, growing it from 46 to 70 and beyond …

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I didn’t mean to suggest that we hired a stranger off the street. I just want the Utah gymnastics program to have the absolute best. The same that USC expects of football or UCLA expects of basketball. Not being familiar with how collegiate gym works, I would have expected Utah to poach a HC from an up and comer.

But like I said above, I don’t really follow Ute gym aside from headlines and pulling for them in March. The program has certainly put in the time and the work to see another Natty come back to SLC. If Randall and Harlan feel that Dockendorf has what it takes, then let’s roll!

I just like saying Dockendorf.

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