Former Wolfpack gymnast shares joy, stress with Team USA

August 11, 2016

United States women’s gymnastic team assistant coach Maggie Haney had a stellar career of her own at NC State from 1997-2000.

“I was the first gymnast at NC State to score a 10,” Haney said. “I’m the type person if I say I’m going to do something I have to do it. So when I got the 10 on beam I said, ‘Well I have to get a second one.’”

She did just that and is still the only NC State gymnast to score a perfect 10 in two events. A fierce competitor and perfectionist, Haney learned a sense of calm and balance from her Wolfpack coach Mark Stevenson.

“I always felt like he took good care of me,” Haney said. “It wasn’t about just gymnastics at all. It was about developing me into the person I am today.”

That person is working with the gold medal-winning USA gymnastics team and specifically her long-time student Laurie Hernandez.

“Laurie is really special to me because I’ve had her for her entire life,” Haney said. “I got her when she was 5 or 6 years old. My sister found her in a recreation class and said, ‘this little girl is so cute. You’re going to love her.’”

The cute little girl and her coach have worked together for over a decade at Haney’s Elite Gymnastics Club in New Jersey.

“People have always said that she was going to be here,” Haney said of Hernandez.

Their shared dream turned to reality Tuesday night when the Team <span style=“line-height: 1.6;”>USA rookie was part of the quintet to win Olympic gold.

“I’m like wow! This is amazing that I’m having this moment with her and watching her do this,” Haney said. “I just told her before she went on floor, just have so much fun. When I was watching her, I truly was enjoying it. I wasn’t even nervous for her. It was really cool.”

Haney said she doesn’t miss competing, but coaching has provided her more stress than she expected.

“Oh my, I don’t even think I can touch my toes anymore!” Haney said. “It’s a lot more stressful as a coach than a gymnast. You know what’s on the line. It’s a little bit harder on this side believe it or not.”