Current Issue / DU Alumni

DU experience inspired Coach Cliff Gauthier

Cliff Gauthier has been named USA Gymnastics Collegiate Coach of the Year nine times, and his 621 career victories surpass all other William and Mary coaches.

Living an inspired life means more than exposure to great ideas. It includes exposure to great personalities. When Cliff Gauthier, BA physical education ’69, received the 2004 Thomas Ashley Graves Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching at the College of William and Mary, he realized how many of the great personalities in his life traced back to DU.

Jim Hartman, the original coach of the DU Hilltoppers, was the first to make an impression on a 9-year-old Gauthier, who was trying out for the diving team. After his initial dive, Hartman took him aside and offered words of encouragement. “Jim Hartman is probably as responsible for my going into education, specifically coaching, as anyone,” says Gauthier, who is the men’s gymnastics coach at William and Mary.

When he enrolled at DU, Gauthier split his time between gymnastics and diving. The continued encouragement and support of swimming coach Thom Murphy and gymnastics coach Doug DeWitt helped him qualify for nationals in vaulting and earn a letter in diving. Gauthier graduated cum laude in 1969 and taught math in Denver area schools for several years. He stayed active in gymnastics as president of the Colorado Gymnastics Association and coached the DU men’s gymnastics team during its last two seasons.

Gauthier accepted a position with William and Mary in 1973. Since then, he has been named USA Gymnastics Collegiate Coach of the Year nine times, and his 621 career victories surpass all other William and Mary coaches. Gauthier also has produced more Academic All-America gymnasts than any other university, a measure that he proudly points out is his true mark of success.

Gauthier instills his philosophical mission in his gymnasts from day one. “We use the medium of gymnastics to help people improve the quality of their lives by teaching them how to grow and to learn more about who they are,” he says. Just like coaches Hartman, Murphy, and DeWitt before him, Gauthier is inspiring others to reach their potential.

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