Episode Summary: Bev Plocki
Bev Plocki, born and raised in Pennsylvania steel country, earned All-American status in gymnastics at Alabama and West Virginia, before becoming Michigan’s gymnastic coach at the ripe age of 23. The team had gone 0-13 in the Big Ten the previous year, shared facilities with the Michigan Marching Band and IM basketball games, and hadn’t worked out the entire off-season.
Plocki got to work changing attitudes, habits, and the culture. Her teams have since won 24 Big Ten titles – the most of any coach in any sport – while she has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year 11 times, and NCAA coach of the year twice.
The highlight, however, came during what should have been Michigan’s most trying year: 2020-21, the Covid Season. With the team shut down twice for two-week spells, the athletes worked out at home, by zoom, and in four shifts of three each day. Instead of complaining about what they didn’t have, they decided to be grateful for what they did – and went on to win the NCAA title, the first for any Big Ten school.