Currently in his 14th season as head coach of the Tigers, Rob Drass has taken the Tiger gymnastics program to new heights in his tenure.
After an outstanding 2009 season, The Tigers continued their record-breaking performances in 2010. With a regular season finish of 11-3, Drass coached the Mizzou gymnastics team through the post-season, and helped the team advance to the NCAA National Championship for the first time in program history.
Mary Burke continued the string of honors in 2011 as she was recognized as Big 12 Gymnast of the Week four times over the course of the season. She took the all-around title at the Big 12 Championship in addition to being named to the All-Big 12 team on beam and in the all-around. Burke, under Drass' direction, led the team to it's 24th NCAA Regional appearance.
With Drass' assistance in 2010, both Mary Burke and Sarah Shire were added to the Mizzou record books. The two gymnasts tied for the program record on floor after they both scored a 9.975 on floor in Missouri's meet against Illinois State. Shire also set a new career high and school record with an all-around score of 39.725.
Drass coaching skills were on display during the 2010 Big 12 Championships, where Mizzou finished third (195.900) and Sarah Shire took the Big 12 title in the all-around. Shire finished her conference season with six Gymnast of the Week honors from the Big 12 conference bringing her career total to a program record 12 conference Gymnast of the Week honors.
Drass and the Tigers did not stop there, the team hosted the Columbia Regional Tournament where Missouri took first place and set a new regional record with a team score of 196.500 to advance to Nationals. With Drass' help, Mizzou placed sixth in the semifinal round (194.600) and Shire continued to the individual event finals.
Drass coached Shire to a second place finish on floor and fifth place spot on vault. She became the first gymnast in program history to earn a national ranking. Shire also earned All-America First team honors on vault and floor and All-America Second team honors on Bars to become Mizzou's first four-time All-American athlete.
Drass' Tigers finished the season ranked at No. 12 in the nation, the highest ranking ever in Missouri Gymnastics program history. With all the success of the 2009 season, Drass' coaching skills helped to bring the team to a higher level in 2010.
In 2009, Drass coached the team to a 20-6 record as the team stamped performances in all four events and the all-around into the Missouri record books. The end of the season came with the Tigers' highest ever overall score at an NCAA Regional (196.000) and Drass' squad finished the year ranked 13th in the country.
Last season was also marked by outstanding performances from senior Adrianne Perry and junior Sarah Shire. Drass helped Perry become the first Missouri gymnast to qualify for Nationals in each of her four seasons. Shire followed in Perry's footsteps from 2008 and became Drass' second gymnast to win the Big 12 all-around title. Both Perry and Shire became All-Americans at the 2009 NCAA National Championships, the second and third gymnasts to receive that honor in his career at Missouri.
With Drass' help the past two seasons, Shire is now one of the best collegiate gymnasts in the country and has the potential to become only the second Missouri gymnast to be named a two-time All-American. Shire's success just adds to the many in Drass' accomplished career.
Another prime example of Drass' success was 2009 senior Alicia Hatcher, who was not only one of Missouri's most consistent gymnasts, but was also honored outside the sport as well. Hatcher was tapped into the Mystical Seven honors society, named the Student-Athlete of the Year by the Varsity M Association and named to the prestigious Mizzou '39 (the university's recognition of the top 39 seniors).
The 2008 Tigers saw a successful year across the board, as well as standout performances by individual gymnasts, all mentored by Drass. Perry led the Tigers and captured the programs' first ever Big 12 all-around title and represented the squad at the National Championships.
The Missouri squad spent much of the season in the top 20 in 2008 and ultimately finished 13-10. The Tigers placed third in the Big 12 and grabbed the fourth-place spot at the NCAA Central Regional.
On the shoulders of NCAA National qualifier Perry and an array of quality gymnasts, Drass' 2007 squad spent the entire season ranked in the top 20, peaking at 17th. In a season that saw Mizzou face off against some of the nation's elite, Drass led the squad to a 17-11 record marked by an upset victory of 11th ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Tigers also finished third in the Big 12 Conference, hosted in Columbia, Mo., and third at the NCAA West Regional, behind Utah and Nebraska.
In 2006, Drass led the Tiger squad to a 13-8 regular season mark and a third-place finish behind eventual national champion Georgia and Nebraska at the NCAA Southeast Regional. Missouri spent five weeks ranked in the top-10 during the course of the season, including a program record of seventh on Jan. 30.
Under Drass' guidance, Perry became the seventh Tiger and only the second freshman to qualify for the NCAA National Championships as an all-around competitor in 2006.
For his efforts, Drass was named the South Central Region Head Coach of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W).
After ending the 2005 regular season with a 13-7 mark, Drass guided Mizzou to a third-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional with a 195.100, also a school record at the event. Additionally, senior Alisha Robinson earned All-America honors for the second time in her career after she finished fifth on vault at the NCAA Championships.
Going 15-3 during the 2004 regular season, the Tigers recorded the programs' top four all-time team totals and the top five event totals on all four apparatus. Overseeing the program's vault lineup, Drass coached the team to nine of Mizzou's highest scores, including a 49.375 all-time high.
Robinson and Lauren Schwartzman individually highlighted the season, setting each of Mizzou's individual records on their way to claiming All-Big 12 accolades.
Robinson won the conference vault title and finished second on floor, while Schwartzman claimed the league beam title and finished second on the apparatus at the Northeast Regional. In addition, Schwartzman also became Mizzou's first athlete to score a perfect 10.000 on beam, duplicating the feat against Iowa State and at the Texas Woman's Invitational.
Reinforcing Drass' influence with the Tiger program, he was honored as the 2004 South Central Regional Coach of the Year by the NACGC/W.
Mizzou's success in 2004 came on the heels of a tremendous 2003 season seeing the Tigers pick up their first Big 12 victory over Iowa State and turning in a third-place performance to earn their highest Big 12 Championship finish in history. Lindsay Davis, Robinson and Schwartzman earned All-Big 12 first team recognition. In addition to its Big 12 successes, Mizzou rewrote the record books, recording its highest marks in almost every team and individual event on its way to the NCAA South Central Regional and a 24th-place final national ranking.
Building up to their accomplishments in 2003, the Tigers ushered in a new era of Mizzou tumbling in 2002.
A young squad comprised of six freshmen, four sophomores and six juniors pulled out the most impressive season MU had seen in years.
Following an 8-8 regular season, Drass was honored as the Big 12 Co-Head Coach of the Year, sharing the title with Oklahoma's Steve Nuno.
Mizzou wasn't finished earning accolades, however; the Tigers advanced to the 2002 NCAA North Central Regional where Mizzou just missed advancing to the NCAA finals. Overall, the Tigers earned their highest final national ranking topping as the 17th finest team in the country.
Highlighting the season, Robinson, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, became MU's second All-America gymnast finishing seventh on the vault at the NCAA Championships to earn second team recognition.
The success of 2002 was preceded by several indispensable milestones. In just his second year leading the Tigers, Drass led Mizzou to record three of the top-15 team scores in school history, including a program high floor exercise score at the Corvette Cup.
Three of Missouri's young athletes, Alina Hamm, Leah Gremaud and Lindsay Davis also advanced to the 2001 NCAA Region III competition.
The success experienced during the 2001 campaign came on the tails of the coach's impressive inaugural season at Mizzou. The 2000 Tigers won their second consecutive Cat Classic championship and qualified as a team to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1994.
Drass led the Tigers as they broke 16 school records, accumulated 22 individual titles, and were honored with three academic All-Big 12 selections in his first transitional year. Mizzou's average meet score and Regional Qualifying Score were the highest in school history. The Tigers finished the year at 8-10.
"In 2000, we made great strides in getting Missouri back into the national spotlight. These successes are the building blocks for future teams and recruiting," Drass said.
In addition to tremendous team success, Drass guided senior Shannon Brown to a chart-topping season. She wrapped up her career winning 10 individual events and setting five school records. Drass also helped senior Katie Cole to a record-setting season claiming five individual wins and a career-high 9.825 vault score.
Before taking the reigns at Missouri, Drass was the top assistant for the University of Nebraska's nationally ranked gymnastics team for eight years. He served as a graduate assistant coach from 1991-92, before being elevated as a full-time assistant in 1993.
He was the Cornhuskers' primary floor exercise coach and worked closely with Head Coach Dan Kendig in coaching uneven bars. He was named the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches 1996 Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.
Nebraska Gymnastics enjoyed tremendous success under Drass, earning a berth at the NCAA Championships in four of five seasons, highlighted by NCAA Super Six Finals appearances in both 1997 and 1999. As an assistant, Drass helped NU claim an unprecedented six straight conference titles from 1994 to 1999.
With Drass' help, six different NU gymnasts earned All-America honors.
Topping his career at NU, Drass coached Brink to a spot on the U. S. team that competed at the World University Games in Spain.
Prior to his coaching days, Drass was a gymnast at Penn State from 1987 to 1990. As a Nittany Lion, Drass competed at the NCAA Championships all four years.
A seasoned gymnast who began competing at age nine, Drass began his coaching career while in college, as the assistant boys' gymnastics coach at the McCracken's Gym School in Kansas City in 1987. He served as the head boys' coach at the Nittany Gym School in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1988. Since 1989, Drass has worked at the Woodward Gymnastics Camp in Pennsylvania during the summer.
Drass graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in marketing in 1990. He completed his master's degree in strategic management and long-range planning at Nebraska in May 1994.
He is married to former Husker All-American gymnast Joy Taylor, who is now a pediatrician at the University of Missouri Medical Center. Rob and Joy are the proud parents of daughter Molly and son James.