Kurt Hettinger, who will be entering his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Auburn gymnastics program in 2016, was named 2015 NCAA co-Assistant Coach of the Year with Auburn associate head coach Jenny Rowland. Hettinger serves as the recruiting coordinator and the bars coach, as well as assistant on floor and vault.
With Hettinger as the recruiting coordinator, Auburn's 2012-13 recruiting class was again ranked in the top 10 by CollegeGymFans.com led by All-American Caitlin Atkinson.
Auburn advanced to the NCAA Championship Super Six in 2015 for the first time in 22 years as the the Tigers broke or tied 52 program records. Auburn's sixth place finish at the Super Six was the Tigers' second best in history and highest since 1993 with a NCAA nationals record score of 197.075. The Tigers also had a program record Super Six score of 195.625.
Auburn reached the 2015 NCAA Championship for the first time since 2003 and for only the fourth time overall as the Tigers tied a school-best with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Regional with a regional record score of 196.900. Auburn's No. 2 regional seed was the highest in history.
The Tigers broke or tied 52 program records in 2015 with six of the top eight scores in program history. The Tigers also scored record team totals in the SEC Championship, NCAA Regional, NCAA Semifinal and the NCAA Super Six. Seventeen of the top 20 scores in program history have now been achieved under head coach Jeff Graba and his staff since 2012.
Auburn defeated seven top 10 teams in 2015, haivng only defeated seven top 10 teams in its history prior to 2015. The victories came against No. 4 LSU, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 UCLA, Georgia (twice as No. 9, once as No. 10) and No. 9 Nebraska. Auburn's victory against No. 4 LSU in the NCAA Semifinal was the highest ranked team the Tigers have ever defeated.
Auburn was ranked in the top 10 for 10 consecutive weeks, a school record. Auburn has only been ranked in the top 10 16 total weeks in the last 20 years combined.
Auburn set school overall records in a three-meet span, capped with a 197.750 in the win vs. No. 9 Georgia in the first sellout in program history with a crowd of 7,424 in Auburn Arena. It was only the Tigers' fourth victory over Georgia in 80 meetings with the others coming in 1975, 1977 and 2010.
The Tigers finished fourth in the SEC Championship after competing in the coveted night session for the first time in history while also defeating Georgia for the second straight time, a first in program history.
The Tigers finished the regular season ranked eighth nationally, the highest finial regular season ranking in history with its program record RQS of 197.045.
Auburn's RQS score of 197.025 heading into the 2015 SEC Championship was the highest in the school's history as the Tigers' set a school record SEC Championship score of 196.925 finishing fourth, its best SEC finish in 22 years.
Three Tigers earned All-America honors in 2015 as Caitlin Atkinson earned NAGC/W regular season first-team All-America honors in the all-around. At the NCAA Championship, Atkinson won All-America first-team honors in all-around by finishing third with 39.550 and won beam with a career-high tying 9.950.
Megan Walker earned NAGC/W regular season second-team All-American honors on beam while Walker and Bri Guy both earned NCAA Championship All-America second-team honors on beam with a pair of 9.85s.
Three Tigers earned All-SEC honors in 2015 in Megan Walker, Lexus Demers and Abby Milliet, the first Auburn freshman to earn the honor since Caitlin Atkinson in 2013. Milliet also garnered Freshman All-SEC honors.
Hettinger has been part of the leadership that guided the Tigers to its highest ranking since 2009 at No. 6 in 2015, No. 10 in 2014 and No. 11 in 2013 and just its second win over a top-six team since 1998 with the upset victory over then-No. 6 LSU in February 2013 with a program-record score of 197.175.
One of the many high points in the 2014 season came in a win at No. 10 Arkansas 196.550-196.100 for the Tigers' first win in six meetings in Fayetteville. Auburn (197.000) posted its second highest score of 197 or higher in 2014 against Missouri, marking the first time that an Auburn team has accomplished the feat. The Tigers have scored 197 or higher three times in the last 15 meets, a plateau that had only been reached once in the program's previous 38 years of competition. Eight of the top 10 scores in program history have now been achieved under head coach Jeff Graba and his staff.
Caitlin Atkinson and MJ Rott were named National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women regular season All-Americans. Atkinson, Brittany Webster and Megan Walker were named All-SEC while Rott was a Freshman All-SEC selection. Freshman MJ Rott tied the Auburn school record of 9.975 on vault at LSU that was set by three-time All-American Julie Dwyer. The Tigers finished 11th nationally on vault, 11th on floor and 16th on bars. Atkinson ranked 10th nationally in all-around (39.500) and 30th on floor (9.895) while Rott ranked 16th on vault (9.915).
Auburn advanced to the 2014 Baton Rouge regional while the Tigers won the SEC Gymnastics Championship afternoon session for the second year in a row and finished fifth overall.
In 2013, Hettinger was instrumental as Auburn posted seven consecutive scores of 196.000 or higher for the first time in program history and recorded nine scores of 196.000 or higher out of 13 meets including one meet above 197, another program first.
Under the tutelage of Hettinger, Auburn finished 2012 ranked 10th nationally on bars RQS at 49.170. The Tigers recorded the second-highest bars score in program history with a total of 49.475 against Florida. Additionally, three Auburn gymnasts (Kylie Shields, Petrina Yokay and Allyson Sandusky) finished the 2012 season ranked in the top 25 nationally on uneven bars.
In his role as recruiting coordinator, Hettinger helped haul in the 10th-ranked signing class in the country in 2011 according to CollegeGymFans.com. He was selected as a co-Assistant Coach of the Year for the Central Region in 2011 by the NCAA.
In 2009, Hettinger helped Auburn to a No. 4 national ranking, the highest in school history. The Tigers had their longest stint in theT
op 10 (eight weeks) that season and finished the year ranked 11th on bars with a .962 hit rate. Auburn also finished fourth on bars at the 2009 SEC Championships with the help of Allyson Sandusky, who earned an All-SEC selection during that competition.
Hettinger came to Auburn after five years as an assistant with the women's gymnastics program at Kent State. He served as the head bars coach while assisting with technique on vault and floor. He helped guide the Golden Flashes to three team records, four individual top-10 scores on bars and eight individual titles on his respective events at Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship meets.
Hettinger played an integral role in Kent State's three NCAA Regional Championship appearances, two MAC Championship titles and three-consecutive regular-season titles. Kent State's 2007 bars squad spent the entire season ranked in the Top 25, ending with a final regular season ranking at No. 22.
Outside the gym, Hettinger served as Kent State's recruiting coordinator and summer camp director.
Prior to Kent State, Hettinger spent five years at the Champaign County YMCA, assisting with the development of the junior boys program, shaping Class VI through Elite level gymnasts. A two-time member of the USAG Region V Junior Elite Boys Team Coaching Staff, he guided former University of Illinois standout Jon Drollinger to the top of the junior ranks, which included competition in floor, still rings and all-around finals at the 2001, 2002 and 2003 Junior Olympic National Championships. Drollinger went on to earn NCAA All-American honors on still rings in 2008.
Hettinger was a four-year letter-winner with the University of Illinois gymnastics team from 1996-99, helping the Fighting Illini toa third-place finish at the 1998 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships.
A native of Tuscola, Ill., Hettinger graduated from the University of Illinois in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history. He earneda master's degree in education from Kent State in 2005. Hettinger and his wife, Katherine, were married in July 2006, and they have three children, one son, Cameron, and two daughters, Audrey and Elise.