LA84 Hosts Seven-Time NCAA National Champion Valorie Kondos Field on National Girls & Women in Sports Day
The LA84 Foundation celebrated the 33rd Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day by hosting legendary UCLA women’s gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos Field, who had the audience in awe as she shared her story.
Field, who was interviewed by Fox Sports West host Carrlyn Bathe, went into detail about what has made her so successful in the college ranks, as well as how her outlook on her day-to-day life.
“I have learned that when you coach, especially young women and men, and you bring them into the equation and ask, ‘How did that feel?’ when you bring someone into the equation, they’re that much more invested in it,” Field said. “The best coaches take the strategy of the game very seriously, but also infuse the human side of it.”
Field is head coach of the seven-time NCAA Champion, 22-time Regional and 18-time Pac 12 Champion UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team. One of only two active coaches to be inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, the four-time “National Coach of the Year” was recently named “West Region Coach” of the Year and Pac 12 “Coach of the Century” for her solid track record as a preeminent coach.
Affectionately known by her gymnasts as “Miss Val,” her reputation is only one reason that 46 former US national team members have come through her program and why half of the last two Olympic teams have committed to UCLA. Field’s coaching success is due to her extraordinary leadership and mentorship of young student-athletes, and the way in which she uses gymnastics as an avenue through which to teach valuable life lessons, while encouraging individuality and joy. Something Field learned from the late John Wooden, the legendary and most successful collegiate basketball coach of all time, who was one of her biggest inspirations, as well as a close mentor and friend.
“His told to always follow my heart,” Field recalled. “Had Coach Wooden give me advice on what to say, I probably would’ve said what he told me to say, but that moment shaped the rest of how I start the day with our student athletes.”
As a recent breast cancer survivor, Field’s positive outlook and hope filled message is impactful. She empowers her athletes to use their voices, to celebrate themselves, and to enjoy the elite sport that has damaged so many in the past. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to share motivating and inspirational messages with the world, with her book, “LIFE IS SHORT, DON’T WAIT TO DANCE: Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame Coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams,” which was released in Fall 2018 by the Hachette Book Group. It expounds on her life philosophy: “Don’t wait to see what life is going to hand you, take control of your life and design ~ choreograph it exactly how you want it to turn out.”
The event was proudly supported by Fox Sports West and Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling. The foundation was also joined by girls from ICEF Rugby, a local youth sports and
leadership program partially funded by LA84.
NGWSD is a day to celebrate the extraordinary achievements in girls’ and women’s sports and the positive influence athletic participation brings to their lives. NGWSD recognizes the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations. Title IX ensures that students receive educational opportunities free from discrimination based on sex. It’s a short and simple law, but it has truly changed the game for girls and women in sports. Although Title IX has expanded opportunities for female athletes, many schools across the country still don’t provide equal opportunities for girls to participate in sports.
For more than three decades, this celebration has empowered women and girls to get moving, reap the benefits of physical activity and push past their limits both in sports and in life. The confidence, strength and character gained through sports and physical activity are the very tools girls need to become strong leaders, in their own lives and in the world. The LA84 Foundation is committed to leveling the playing field and closing the play equity gap, which includes the gender gap in sports. In fact, 50% of children participating in the youth sports programs funded by the LA84 Foundation are girls.
NGWSD recognizes the ongoing effort towards equality and access for women in sports and the nation’s commitment to expand sport and participation opportunities for all girls and future generations. The directive of NGWSD aligns with LA84’s commitment to closing the Play Equity gap in youth sports, especially in regards to increasing the number of female athletes and coaches.