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Gagnier, Edward “Ed”

Published onJul 30, 2021
Gagnier, Edward “Ed”

(February 1, 1936 - )

Quick Facts

Ed Gagnier brought the sport of gymnastics to Iowa State University for the first time. He brought with him experience, motivation, hard work, championships, and succeeded in nationwide recognition for Iowa State University.

Source: Iowa State Athletics

Edward Gagnier was born on February 1st, 1936. He grew up in Leamington, Ontario, Canada. Ed Gagnier joined the gymnastics team in his high school when he was 14 years old.1 He attended the University of Michigan where he continued his gymnastics from 1956 to 1958. At the University of Michigan, he won five Big Ten Conference championships. In 1957 he won the all-around championship, in 1956 and 1957 he won the vault championships, and in 1956 and in 1957 he won the bars championship. In 1956 he was selected as an All-American in all-around and in the bars.2 Ed Gagnier was the first gymnast to be chosen to represent Canada in the 1956 summer Olympic games in Melbourne, Australia.3 Gagnier graduated from the University of Michigan in 1958 with a BA degree in Physical Education.4 He was inducted into the Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1992.5 Iowa State University (ISU) hired Gagnier in 1961 to create a Men’s gymnastics program for the University.

At first his team started out at a club sport, this changed when his team received funds for traveling and other expenses from the university. During Ed Gagnier’s 22 years as the head gymnastics coach at the Iowa State University his teams won NCAA team championships in 1971, 1973, and in 1974. As head coach his teams also won eight Big Eight Conference championships. 6

Gagnier Retired as Iowa State University’s head gymnastics coach in 1983. After retirement from coaching, he worked in the Athletics Department as Director of Promotions (leading the popular “Shoot Five-for-Five” halftime contests at basketball games) and Director of the National Cyclone Club.7 Ed Gagnier wrote, Inside Gymnastics in 1974. In 1982 he was inducted into the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame.8 On February 20, 2015, a banner dedicated to Gagnier was hung from the ceiling of Hilton Colosseum.9

Gagnier married Carolyn and they had two children, Bonnie and Becky.

Selected Sources

ISU Gymnastics “The Ed Gagnier Story”

Wingert, Kelby. “Ed Gagnier honored” Iowa State Daily. Feb 26, 2015

 "Men's Gymnastics Championship History." NCAA.

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