Head Gymnastics Coach
Since Judi Markell's arrival for the 1993 season as Florida's Head Gymnastics Coach, the Gators have positioned themselves among the nation's elite while breaking many school records along the way. Markell has helped the Gator Gymnastics Team set new school standards for excellence since her arrival, as records have been established in every team category and five individual event bests have been established or matched.
Florida has advanced to the NCAA Championships eight of nine years under Markell, earning its best NCAA finish ever at the 1998 meet, when the Gators took second overall. The 1998 NCAA meet marked the second consecutive year that Florida qualified for the NCAA Super Six competition, as UF took fifth in '97. Markell collected her second Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year Award in 1997 and was named the NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year. In 1994, when UF made its first NCAA Super Six appearance (finishing sixth), Markell earned both the NCAA and SEC Coach of the Year awards. It was the second time Markell earned the NCAA Coach of the Year award, picking up the first in 1992 at Penn State.
Eleven Gator gymnasts have earned a total of 55 All-America honors under Markell, with UF gymnasts earning a school-record 10 All-America honors at both the 1997 and 1996 NCAA Championships. In those record-setting years, four gymnasts earned All-America honors in 1996 while five were named All-Americans in 1997. In addition, Florida's Kristen Guise was named the 1996 SEC Gymnast of the Year -- a first for UF since the award's inception in 1993. Chrissy Van Fleet became the second to claim the honor in 2000. 1998 was an exceptional year for UF gymnasts at the NCAA Individual Event Finals, as Susan Hines successfully defended her NCAA vault crown and freshman Betsy Hamm won the balance beam title - the first time UF had multiple champions at a single NCAA Championship.
Markell joined UF in June of 1992 after a highly successful 18-year stint at Penn State. The Lady Lions earned berths in 14 national championships, including seven NCAA Championship competitions. The Lady Lions claimed two AIAW team titles (1978 and 1980) and was the AIAW runner-up in 1979. Penn State took fourth at the 1992 NCAA Championships and Markell was that season's selection as the NCAA Coach of the Year. Penn State's top finish at the NCAA Championships came in 1982 when the Lady Lions took third.
Markell began her association with Penn State in 1972 when she taught at the Nittany Gymnastics School in 1972-73. She became the assistant coach at Penn State during the 1973-74 season before being tabbed as the head coach in 1975. Under her direction, Penn State gymnasts won 11 individual national titles and 12 gymnasts earned All-America status. Markell was the AIAW Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1980.
Her impressive career also included international coaching assignments. In the summer of 1995, Markell led the U.S. team to the silver medal at the World University Games in Japan. It was the second time Markell has led the U.S. squad to the World University Games' medals stand, as she served as head coach of the 1979 bronze medal team in Mexico. She also coached the U.S. National team at the 1978 World Collegiate Invitational in Romania.
With a career record of 388-157-2, Markell is among the coaching leaders in victories. A veteran in the coaching community, Markell has held professional affiliations and memberships on the NCAA Rules Committee, University Games Committee, and AIAW International Games Committee.
Coaching is not the only aspect of gymnastics that Markell has conquered. Markell competed for Springfield College in Massachusetts, earning All-American honors each year and competing on three national championship teams. She was the runner-up for the Nissen Award, given annually to the most outstanding senior in the nation. She earned a degree in elementary education in 1972. Markell was inducted into the Springfield College Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 1995.
Markell has two children, daughter Hali, 20, and son Baxley, 13. Markell and Jim Sloan were married in May of 1998. She is a talented fabric designer and has painted a competitive leotard for the Gators in past seasons. Ballrooom dancing is also among her hobbies and she has had success competing in the amateur rank.
* 1994 NCAA Coach of the Year
* 1992 NCAA Coach of the Year
* 1997 NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year
* 1997 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
* 1994 SEC Coach of the Year
* Coached teams to 21 national championship appearances (14 NCAA/seven AIAW)
* 1978 and 1980 AIAW National Championship coach
* Mentored student-athletes to 14 individual national titles
* 24 student-athletes earned All-America status under Markell (10 at Florida/12 at Penn State)
* 1978 and 1980 AIAW Coach of the Year
- Owns overall record of 388-157-2 (27 years)
- Owns record of 110-70-1 at UF (nine years)
- Led U.S. team at three international assignments -- in World University Games action, U.S. team won silver medal in 1995 and the 1979 team took home the bronze
|Markell's Slate at Florida|
|Year||Record||SEC Finish||Region Finish||NCAA Finish||All-Americans|
|1993||10-8||5th||2nd||10th||2 with 2 honors|
|1994||10-7||4th||2nd||6th||3 with 8 honors|
|1995||9-7||4th||2nd||7th||4 with 9 honors|
|1996||16-4||3rd||2nd||8th||4 with 10 honors|
|1997||13-5-1||2nd||1st||5th||5 with 10 honors|
|1998||10-4||2nd||2nd||2nd||3 with 8 honors|
|1999||13-10||3rd||2nd||T10th||1 with 3 honors|
|2000||14-13||4th||3rd||--||1 with 2 honors|
|2001||15-12||3rd||2nd||7th||2 with 3 honors|
|UF Record||110-70-1||55 honors|