Starkell steps down as Illinois director of gymnastics

Bob Starkell has resigned as the Illinois director of gymnastics after 17 years with the program, according to a University press release.

Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther announced Monday that Starkell, who spent 11 years as the women’s gymnastics head coach, resigned for personal reasons.

Current women’s gymnastics associate head coach Kim Landrus will fill in as interim head coach for the upcoming 2010-11 season.

Starkell’s departure comes just one year removed from the Illini’s 12th-place finish at nationals — which gained him the title of 2009 National Coach of the Year after bringing Illinois to its first NCAA Championship appearance in program history. He was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year that season, as well as in 2005 and 2010.

The top-10 team scores in Illini history were posted by teams coached by Starkell, who also coached the program’s first First Team All-American in Melissa Fernandez.

After the 2009 season, Starkell was named Illinois’ Director of Gymnastics, which led him to oversee both the women’s and men’s programs during his final year with Illinois.

Landrus, who will cover Starkell’s head coaching duties for the women, has been a part of Illinois’ staff for the last eight years, including four as associate head coach. Landrus was named co-National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009 along with fellow Illinois assistant Amy Kruse.

According to the press release, the school will immediately begin searching for an assistant coach to fill Landrus’ former position.