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Collins Named Yale Gymnastics Assistant Coach

Jason Collins
Jason Collins

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale head coach Barbara Tonry has announced Jason Collins as the new Yale gymnastics assistant coach. Collins comes to Yale from EVO Athletics, where he was vice president, chief athletic officer and director of men's gymnastics, and women's elite team coach.

"It is an honor to be part of this legacy, learn the traditions and build on the journey of the Yale Gymnastics program. In addition, the opportunity to learn alongside head coach Barbara Tonry, a legacy herself, and embrace the mission of Yale Athletics set forth by the athletic director, is a tremendous opportunity," said Collins. "I look forward to learning the entire history of both the women's and men's Yale gymnastics program founded and shaped by Tonry and her husband Don Tonry's love and refinement of the art form."

Collins began his coaching career at age fifteen. After high school he attended the Juilliard School in New York, where he obtained his Bachelor's of voice, and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pa., for his Master's in opera performance. His first career as a professional opera singer and classical musician proved highly successful as he traveled the globe, singing in front of crowds as large as 80,000 people in the most prestigious halls such as sports stadiums and theaters. That included venues such as the Kennedy Center, La Scala and Lincoln Center and cities such as Bologna, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Tel Aviv.

Additionally, Collins has several recordings. Notable, is "The Good Soldier Schweik," which is housed in the Yale Music Library of Historical recordings. It was listed in the New York Post as one of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's "Top 10 Opera Recordings" and nominated for Best New Opera by the Cannes Music Festival. Collins has appeared all over the U.S. in opera companies such as the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Chicago Opera Theater, Bard Music Festival, Arizona Opera and Ft. Worth Opera. He came back to gymnastics later in life with a passion for the artistic side of the sport, a passion that was spurred by his formal training at Juilliard and The Curtis Institute.

A true believer in the art form of gymnastics, Collins' knowledge in helping his athletes train not only physically and technically but also mentally and emotionally sets him apart from other coaching styles. He brings a wealth of coaching experience to Yale. His deep love for coaching and keen eye has helped him develop numerous National Champions for both USAG Men's and Women's National programs, Carolina Gymnastics Center, the Sarasota YMCA, South Florida Gymnastics, Evo Gymnastics and World Champions Centre. 

"We are extremely excited for Jason's evolution to collegiate coaching. He created an elite training program from scratch for men's youth gymnastics in Sarasota, Florida and we are honored to be a part of his legacy," said the Evo Athletics' staff. "Our athletes, coaches and parents have been blessed to work with him and learn from his expertise. We cannot wait to cheer on the Yale Bulldogs in the upcoming seasons!" 

Matching his 15 –year's' worth of professional opera singing accomplishments, Collins' gymnastics' achievements are just as remarkable. He was awarded 2015 USAG Coach of the Year for the state of Florida and served as a coach for the United States Olympic Developmental teams at the state, regional, national and international levels from 2015-2018. Collins has been honored to coach the last four years alongside partner and friend Aimee Boorman, three-time Worlds Coach and Head Olympic Coach in Rio 2016. Both coached Olympic and current world champion Simone Biles at the World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas.

"Jason brings a level of coaching expertise that will be vital in YGT reaching and exceeding the level of success that we had last year. Also, Jason's positive energy in the gym is infectious and I can't wait to have that kind of energy on the floor with us when we compete!" said senior captain Kiarra Alleyne.

Collins was instrumental in negotiations to have the United States Women's National Team in a fully transparent and safe location to train at Evo Gymnastics where the US Women's National Team will now train through the 2020 Olympic games.

The team is excited to welcome Collins to YGT 2019 and is optimistic about what he will add to the gymnastics program.


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report by Anna Jennings '20, Yale Sports Publicity