Iowa women’s gymnastics adds Quest Hayden as assistant coach

Assistant coach Quest Hayden will join the women’s gymnastics staff after stints at Penn State, Michigan, and North Carolina.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa gymnasts stand for the nationan anthem during a women’s gymnastics meet between Iowa and Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, March 1, 2019. The Hawkeyes, celebrating senior night, fell to the Cyclones, 196.275-196.250.

Chloe Peterson, Summer Sports Editor

Iowa women’s gymnastics has added Quest Hayden as an assistant coach, Hawkeye athletics announced Friday.

Hayden, a Penn State men’s gymnastics alumni, is joining the Hawkeyes after positions at North Carolina, Penn State, and Michigan.

“We are excited to welcome Quest to the Hawkeye family,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said in a release. “We had an incredible group to choose from and after having the same assistant for five seasons, I knew this would be a difficult decision. Quest comes from a strong gymnastics background and has been developing his vision of what a great coach should be from a young age. Once he came to campus and interacted with our team and staff, he was the clear choice.”

Hayden competed collegiately with Penn State rom 2015-18, helping the Nittany Lions to a 2015 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championship. As a senior, Hayden was a team captain and competed in four events.

While competing collegiately, Hayden also coached at Centre Elite Gymnastics in State College, Pennsylvania, overseeing bars and spotting on the floor routine. He also managed the strength and conditioning program.

After graduating with a degree in psychology, Hayden joined the Penn State coaching staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2018-19 season. In 2018-19, the Nittany Lions accumulated a 10-9 record and a fifth-place finish at the 2019 Big Ten Championships.

After the 2018-19 season, Hayden moved to Big Ten rival school Michigan as a volunteer assistant for 2019-20, where he helped coach the Wolverines to a 2020 regular season Big Ten title. Hayden was named the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Northeast Regional Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2019-20 season.

Hayden joined the North Carolina Tar Heels women’s gymnastics staff in 2020-21 as an assistant coach. He helped the Tar Heels to a No. 41 national ranking, and coached North Carolina’s Elizabeth Culton to All-America honors.

The Tar Heels finished at No. 39 nationally in bars, 11 spots ahead of their 2019-20 ranking.

Now, Hayden is rejoining the Big Ten.

“I am excited to be back in the Big Ten and part of a prestigious and reputable program,” Hayden said. “The program has been improving each year and I have had my eyes on Iowa for a long time. I am fortunate to be able to work with such a great team and am confident that this team will continue to grow in and out of the classroom. I can’t wait to be in Iowa City and couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Hawkeye family.”

Iowa women’s gymnastics won its first Big Ten regular season title in 2020-21 after going 8-0 in the conference-only slate. The Hawkeyes climbed to a No. 7 national ranking in 2020-21 — the program’s highest-ever ranking.

Libby earned 2021 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, while now-sophomore Adeline Kenlin was tabbed as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Hawkeyes finished the 2021 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships in a tie for third place, scoring a 196.625.

“Quest is focused, disciplined and goal-oriented,” Libby said. “And while I am impressed with him from a gymnastics standpoint, it was his overall character, his genuine conversations with our team and comfort with our staff that made the difference.  I look forward to having the opportunity to work with Quest and welcome him to the GymHawk family.”

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