CHAMPAGNE, Ill.— Interim Head Coach of Men’s Gymnastics from Illinois Daniel Ribeiro announced that Tim McNeill will take on the role of assistant coach on Friday (August 6). McNeill, a distinguished gymnast turned head coach at UC Berkeley, is returning to coaching after retiring in 2013.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Tim to our coaching staff,” said Ribeiro. “I can say with confidence that Illinois has the best coaching staff in the country. I now have two assistant coaches, both of whom have experience as Division I, Power 5 head coaches. Tim ticked every single box I was looking for along with boxes I made I don’t even know what I was looking for.”
McNeill is considered one of the most accomplished gymnasts in the history of Cal’s program, earning Golden Bear All-America honors in each of his four years from 2005-2008. He won the first of his five NCAA singles championships, a school record, when he won the pommel horse competition in 2006. He later won both the pommel horse and parallel bars titles at the 2007 and 2008 NCAA championships. At the end of his senior season, McNeill received the Pac-10 medal as the most outstanding senior male student-athlete at Cal.
After graduating from Cal in 2008, McNeill spent the 2009 season as an intern with the Bears before coaching full-time with the US national team.
McNeill returned to his alma mater as Cal’s head coach for three seasons from 2010 to 2013. As Cal’s coach, McNeill was named 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year. He led the Bears to fourth place in the NCAA in both 2011 and 2012, with an individual pommel horse champion in 2012.
Four of his student-athletes became members of the US national team, two became members of the Philippine national team, and one became a member of the Swiss national team, all under his tutelage. McNeill was a 2012 Olympic Trials coach and was selected by USA Gymnastics to coach the US delegation to the 2012 World Championships in Croatia.
Prior to Cal, McNeill competed in three Junior Olympic National Championships in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 2000, McNeill finished third on parallel bars and fourth on pommel horse in 2002. In 2004, he broke through for first place on the pommel horse while also finishing third in the all-around and fourth in the parallel and high bar events.
McNeill was an integral part of the US senior national team from 2006 to 2011 and has an impressive track record at the international level. He won his first international medal in 2010 when he placed third on parallel bars at the World Championships in Moscow. Other highlights include a final at the 2008 Olympic Trials, winning the pommel horse at the 2009 Winter Cup Challenge, winning the parallel bars title and finishing second in the all-around at the 2009 VISA Championships. McNeill secured a spot on the US team for the World Championships 2009, where he finished fifth on the pommel and seventh in the all-around. In 2010 he was voted US Gymnast of the Year.
Aside from gymnastics, McNeill is a voice in the mental health community. He graduated from both an HIV clinic and an inpatient substance abuse facility. He also spent time as a mental health counselor at a substance abuse facility for adolescent boys. McNeill later opened his own private practice, helping youth and adults with mental health and substance abuse issues, while also providing sports counseling to help athletes reach their highest potential.
“Tim is young and passionate; he has a brilliant gymnastics spirit and a lot of experience.” Added Ribeiro. “His work in the fields of mental health and sports psychology will be a great asset to our athletes as well.”