Gymnastics Coaching Staff
2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
With each passing season, LSU gymnastics continues to collect more honors and titles to its storied program, and head coach D-D Breaux has been the catalyst behind LSU’s sustained success.
Led by Breaux, LSU has seen increasing accomplishments that includes 15 NCAA Championships appearances in the last 16 seasons, six Super Six appearances since 2008 and 12 individual national titles since 2002.
Under Breaux’s leadership and coaching, LSU has reached new heights in individual and team success.
Now entering her 42nd season as the mastermind of the LSU gymnastics program, Breaux exudes the same passion and enthusiasm to coach the Fighting Tigers as she did in her first season on the job.
Breaux has worked tirelessly to make LSU gymnastics the most exciting and family-friend event in the city, state and country on a Friday night. Tiger fans have continually set the bar higher with record attendance numbers set and their support has led the program to a perfect 34-0 record at home over the last five seasons.
Friday night inside the Maravich Center is a major attraction in Baton Rouge, and the attendance records have been rewritten thanks to the hard work by Breaux and her staff. In 2018, LSU sold out the PMAC against Alabama and Kentucky. LSU set the single-meet attendance record with 13,729 in the arena to watch the Tigers take down the Crimson Tide.
In competition, LSU has put together one of the most consistent programs in the nation with three-straight NCAA Super Six appearances and back-to-back Southeastern Conference regular season and meet titles.
As the “Dean of Coaches” at LSU, Breaux has represented the University at the highest level both in the gym and, most importantly, in the classroom for 41 years. Her dedication to the student-athlete on an individual basis has transcended into academic success, community involvement, Coach of the Year honors, SEC Championships, NCAA Regional Championships and top-10 national rankings throughout her tenure. In fact, there is a tremendous balance between academics and athletics as LSU has produced 238 All-Americans and 150 Scholastic All-Americans during Breaux’s tenure.
During her tenure Breaux has established and maintained LSU's reputation as one of the premier collegiate gymnastics programs in the country. Under her tutelage, the Tigers have placed among the nation's top-10 teams 29 times in 41 seasons, finishing a program-best second in 2016 and 2017, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions.
LSU has also placed among the top three in regional competition on 33 separate occasions, winning regional titles 17 times in four different decades, including back-to-back first-place regional finishes in 2008 and 2009 and six straight from 2013-18.
Additionally, Breaux's Tigers won the inaugural SEC Championship title in 1981 and returned to the top once again in 2017 and 2018. Her team has gone on to finish second on five occasions and third seven other times.
For her dedication to the sport and her teams’ numerous accomplishments, Breaux has been recognized by her peers time and time again. In the summer of 2009, Breaux received one of the highest honors as she was voted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame. Breaux was first recognized as the National Coach of the Year in 2014 and once again in 2017.
She has been named the SEC Coach of the Year on seven occasions (1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015 and 2017), NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year nine times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017) and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors in 1988 when she guided the Tigers to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
To this day, the accolades continue to roll in for Breaux and LSU as the program has seemed to reach its zenith in recent years.
Gymnastics has taken the state by storm as the program continues to shatter attendance record each year. The 2018 season was one for the record book as more than 10,000 fans attended each meet. The Tigers finished first in the SEC and second nationally with an average attendance of 12,009 for the first time in school history.
The program shattered the school record for the highest attended meet when 13,729 fans packed the PMAC to watch the Tigers take down Alabama. LSU also eclipsed the 13,000 mark with 13,185 inside the Maravich Center against Kentucky for the third-largest crowd in school history.
In 2017, LSU broke the 10,000 average attendance mark for the first time in school history. An average of 10,050 fans attended six meets to set a new attendance record a fifth straight year and finish third in the national attendance records.
Fix of the six meets ranked in the top-10 of the best gymnastics attendance figures in school history. The then third-largest crowd in school history (12,609) witnessed No. 2 LSU defeat No. 3 Florida to clinch the SEC regular season championship.
LSU set the single-meet attendance record on three different occasions between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, 13, 296 fans packed the PMAC to watch LSU defeat Alabama.
Three of the top-5 most-attended meets took place in 2016 including the most-attended meet when a school-record 13, 296 fans packed the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on March 4 to watch LSU defeat Alabama.
The 2014 campaign saw LSU shatter school records left and right, including the highest score in school history on three occasions topped by a 198.325 in the NCAA Regional. The Tigers tallied an undefeated home record at 11-0, and LSU ended the season as the only team in the nation to score a 49.0 or higher in every event in every meet all year.
Not only did LSU earn a Super Six berth in 2013, but Breaux picked up career win No. 600 to open the season as the Tigers defeated NC State in the opener.
In the 2012 season, LSU produced four All-SEC and All-America gymnasts, as Hall captured the SEC Floor Exercise title at the SEC Championship and Courville became the first gymnast in LSU history to achieve First Team All-America status in the all-around as a freshman.
In 2010 LSU reached the NCAA Championships for the ninth-consecutive season, and the team finished undefeated at home. Jackson became LSU’s first NCAA All-Around national champion, and she went on to capture the beam national title as well. Jackson made Breaux and LSU proud by earning SEC Gymnast of the Year honors, winning the prestigious AAI Award, Honda Award for Gymnastics and the Corbett Award as Louisiana’s top female athlete as well as being named the SEC Female Athlete of the Year.
Four Tigers earned All-America honors, and Summer Hubbard became LSU’s first three-time First-Team All-American on bars as she was also LSU’s first national runner-up on bars.
In 2009 LSU produced a then school-record six All-American gymnasts with a total of 10 All-America honors, highlighted by senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney who took home first-team honors on vault, bars and floor and followed that up by winning two national titles. For the first time in school history and only the fourth time in NCAA history, LSU had the first and second-place finishers in the vault event final as Clare-Kearney won the national title and junior Susan Jackson was runner-up after winning the title in 2008. Clare-Kearney and Jackson both earned All-SEC honors for the second-straight year as Clare-Kearney repeated as SEC Floor Champion and Jackson was SEC Beam Champion. Clare-Kearney was named NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year, and Jackson won the NCAA Central Regional All-Around title to lead the Tigers to the NCAA Championships.
In 2008 under Breaux’s tutelage, Clare-Kearney and Jackson racked up numerous individual accolades. Jackson was the NCAA Champion on vault. She also was a First Team All-American in the all-around and on vault, beam and floor. Clare-Kearney -- also a First Team All-American on bars and floor -- was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year and also won the SEC All-Around title, the first Tiger gymnast to do so since 1991. LSU earned a total of seven All-America honors and produced two All-SEC selections.
Breaux has led LSU to unprecedented success in the 2000’s as the Tigers finished in the top 10 in 17 seasons since 2000 with 16 NCAA Championships appearances. The Tigers also reached a No. 1 ranking in 2005, 2014, and 2016 and boasted four First-Team All-Americans in 2007 – the same year in which the legendary Breaux picked up career victory No. 500. LSU led the nation with five First-Team All-Americans in 2014, and the Tigers were second with six First-Team All-Americans in 2015.
Twelve of LSU’s 13 individual national championships have come since 2002, with Nicki Arnstad on floor in 2002, April Burkholder on beam in 2006, Susan Jackson on vault in 2008, Ashleigh Clare-Kearney on vault and floor in 2009, Jackson again in the all-around and beam in 2010, and Courville on vault in 2013 and again in 2014. In 2017, LSU won three individual titles for the most in school history with Gnat taking floor, Edney winning vault and Finnegan taking home bars.
An All-Around Coach
Aside from athletic honors, Breaux excels in recruiting quality student-athletes. A Louisianan through and through, Breaux concentrates her recruiting efforts in her native state, but her reach extends to the national and international levels where she has been responsible for recruiting some of Canada’s top athletes of all time and most recently hauled in Great Britain’s Ruby Harrold.
Outside of the gym, Breaux has taken an active role in the academic success her program has achieved in her 40-plus seasons at LSU. By making academic success her team's No. 1 priority, Breaux's teams have reached the highest scholastic goals she has established over the years. Throughout the country, she is acknowledged as having one of the finest academic team year in and year out. LSU gymnasts have been named Scholastic All-Americans 150 times and members of the SEC Academic Honor Roll on 222 occasions.
Breaux’s team won the Tiger Cup in 2013, 2014, and 2015, an award given to the LSU team with the most community service hours, the highest GPA and the highest national placement in postseason competition. In addition, the gymnastics team earned the Community Service Award for combining community service with excellence in the classroom at the annual LSU Academic Gala in 2013 and again in 2015.
Also active members of the community, Breaux and her team continually participate in volunteer activities throughout the Baton Rouge area. The team annually takes part in the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Box Program and Operation Christmas Child to provide presents and gifts to children who are less fortunate. From 2005-08 Breaux's teams were awarded the LSU CHAMPS Community Service Award after logging hundreds of hours of community service work.
Breaux, who has served as the Chairperson of the YWCA's Pink Ribbon Campaign for Breast Cancer, and her team have also volunteered their time to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, St. Jude's Hospital and the Alzheimer's Association, among others. The Tigers’ coach also took on a new role in 2008 as the chair for LSU’s United Way campaign, and in 2009 she received the McMain’s Community Service Award from the McMain’s Children’s Development Center, a great honor for Breaux.
From 2008-13, Breaux and the Tigers joined forces with Foundation 56 – an organization established by former LSU standout linebacker and NFL star Bradie James. James’ mother, Etta, succumbed to breast cancer in February 2002. LSU held the Etta James Memorial Meet for six years, raising money for Foundation 56’s efforts to raise awareness and fight breast cancer. In all, LSU gymnastics and the Baton Rouge community raised more than $300,000 for Foundation 56’s fight against breast cancer.
It is this delicate balance among exceptional academics, athletic excellence and exemplary community service efforts that has allowed Breaux to keep her team at the top of the national scene year in and year out.
The foundation for Breaux’s coaching career developed long before her arrival at LSU. An excellent athlete in her own right, Breaux's affiliation with the sport began at the club level where she was a nationally-ranked gymnast by both the A.A.U. and the U.S.G.F.
Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.
Breaux then served as an assistant coach for the Lady Lions for three seasons, where she also became a national-level judge and served as the first state director for the Louisiana USA gymnastics program. She later transferred to LSU in 1976 where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees.
Breaux is one of eight children and comes from a great family tradition. Her parents, brothers, sisters and their spouses and children have supported the program since the coach’s arrival at LSU.
Breaux has two daughters, Jewel and Sara. Sara, her younger child, played soccer at LSU and earned her degree in May 2009. Sara finished her master’s program in public administration in the LSU E.J. Ourso School of Business, and is married to Bobby Dickson. The couple welcomed Robert Dickson Jr in August 2017.
Jewel, Breaux’s older daughter, is also a graduate of LSU, and she served as a volunteer coach for the gymnastics team for several years. Jewel is married to Beau Fourrier, and they are the proud parents of Breaux’s two grandsons, Porter Thomas – who is 10 years old – and Chase Hebert – who is seven.
LSU Accolades under Breaux
Breaux Year-by-Year Records
* AIAW finish