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Legendary Utah Gymnastics Coach Megan Marsden’s Favorite Part Of Coaching: Taking Care Of Her Girls

Women's gymnastics co-head coach Megan Marsden cheers during the Utah gymnastics Red Rocks Preview at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah gymnastics team has been nothing short of dominant during the past 39 years and Megan Marsden, their head coach, is the common denominator. Now she is passing the torch.

On Helmets Off Podcast, Marsden sat down with Scott Mitchell to share some of her secrets to success.

Marsden credits one leap of faith, when she decided to get in her parent’s station wagon and come from Iowa to Utah to join the University of Utah gymnastics team, led to her impressive 39-year career with the Utes.

During her time as coach of the Red Rocks, the team racked up stellar stats along with a 222-80-3 record. The team never missed an appearance in the NCAA Championship during her reign.

“Utah is deep in my heart, I am a Ute forevermore.”

The Red Rocks earned six team championships, 12 individual championships and 222 All-American awards under Marsden.

The Beginning

Marsden began her time at Utah as a gymnast. Marsden won three individual NCAA titles and 12 first-team all-American awards.

Her choice to move from Iowa to Utah was inspired by a coach who told her about a “young, hot shot coach at Utah who was on the verge of a championship.”

That coach was Greg Marsden.

“I took a giant leap of faith and boy did it turn out great,” said Marsden.


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Her coach, Greg Marsden, later became her husband. They coached together until 2015 when he retired and she decided to continue her Red Rocks reign.

Keys To Red Rocks Dominance

Marsden credits a consistent level of work ethic from the team and everyone on the staff as one of the main reasons Utah Gymnastics has been so dominant under her leadership.

Staying fresh and being on the cutting edge of everything going on within gymnastics, as the Red Rocks are, requires dedicating your life to the work, but they never called it work, according to Marsden.  

“It was just a life, a team and a gym,” she said. “We worked hard to find people who wanted to be a part of our family.”

She credits everyone from the marketing teams to a team psychologist for the success the Red Rocks have consistently had.

“I have been lucky to work with the upper echelon of young people,” said Marsden.

Growth At The University of Utah

Marsden had a front row seat to watch the evolution of the University of Utah and all of its athletic programs.

When asked about Utah’s transition into the Pac-12, Marsden said it didn’t impact the gymnastics team as much as it did other teams because her and Greg Marsden always worked to ensure their team could stack up against any of the powerhouse gymnastics schools.

“We didn’t feel what some of the programs on campus felt, like ‘oh my gosh now we have to keep up’ we had already been keeping up and dominating at times,” said Marsden.

For the Red Rocks, Marsden said, the best part about Utah joining the Pac-12 was that they were finally apart of a “bigger gymnastics family.” They could earn weekly individual awards. Accolades like Pac-12 gymnast of the week.

“I watched my girls have renewed motivation,” Marsden told Mitchell.

Coach Megan Marsden 

When asked about the challenges of coaching, she said that when it comes to college coaching you’re either all in or all out. If you are not all in you don’t want to take up space on the staff.

“All in means 24/7 recruiting, all year long and making sure you are taking great care of your athletes,” said Marsden.

She told Mitchell her favorite part of coaching was taking care of “her girls.”

Retired Megan Marsden

Marsden’s retirement comes at the end of a ten-year timeline. She said they knew when they brought in coach Tom Farden as an assistant that he would someday take over the program.

“He had the qualities that we felt could carry on the program, I trust that he is going to surround himself with great people like Greg and I have done,” said Marsden with confidence.

She said she is most looking forward to spending more time with her husband in retirement knowing she left the program she loves so much in great hands.

Marsden is also excited to spend more time watching other Utah athletic teams and of course, she will still be in the stands at gymnastics meets.

“Utah is deep in my heart, I am a Ute forevermore.”

If you enjoyed this interview subscribe to Helmets Off wherever you podcasts or on the KSL Sports app.

Listen to the full interview below.