William and Mary men's gymnastics coach Cliff Gauthier announced his retirement this week and effective Jan. 1. He will step down after 43 distinguished seasons.
W&M assistant coach Mike Powell will take over the head coaching duties and Gauthier will remain on staff as a volunteer assistant.
"The time has come to hand over the reins of the William and Mary men's gymnastics program to our gifted assistant coach Mike Powell," Gauthier said. "I envision a seamless transition that will enable me to have a very supportive presence within W&M athletics and men's gymnastics while also enabling me to devote more time to the five living generations of my family. Mike's brilliance and energy will keep men's gymnastics at W&M evolving as a beacon of what intercollegiate athletics should be."
Gauthier has amassed 856 career victories, 13 USA Gymnastics collegiate national team championships, four Eastern College Athletic Conference titles and 15 College Gymnastics Association Collegiate Coach of the Year awards.
"For the past 43 years, Cliff Gauthier's men's gymnastics program has pursued academic and athletic excellence with extraordinary success," W&M Athletics Director Terry Driscoll said. "He has excelled as a teacher and a coach. Cliff's legacy is a truly remarkable one that is unlikely to be duplicated. Beyond the considerable team and individual successes, his mentorship has led to unparalleled dedication from his alumni in maintaining a life-long connection to the program."
Tribe gymnasts have thrived individually under Gauthier's tutelage and combined to earn 216 USA Gymnastics Collegiate All-America awards, more than any other university since the inception of the awards in 1990.
The program has also produced two NCAA national champions, two NCAA national runners-Up, 10 NCAA All-America honors, seven Nissen-Emery Award Finalists and 43 USA Gymnastics Collegiate national event champions.
Gauthier's teams have combined to win eight College Gymnastics Association national academic team Titles from 1991 to 2016 and placed second six more times.
Tribe gymnasts also lead the nation with more individual All-America scholar-athlete honors than any other program in men's gymnastics, as 49 W&M gymnasts have combined to earn 152 All-American scholar-athlete honors.
In 2004, Gauthier garnered the Thomas Ashley Graves Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching at W&M, and was chosen as an Honorary Alumnus in 2014.
Volunteer service has also been a hallmark of Gauthier's program through the years. Recent projects have included volunteering in local youth gymnastics, conducting the Williamsburg awareness and fundraising walk for the National Eating Disorders Association, and collecting food and goods for the annual canned food drive that has totaled more than 20,000 pounds of goods since 2007.
"As I look back on these team and individual accomplishments, I have always had many more victories than wins," Gauthier said.
Former W&M linebacker Luke Rhodes has been promoted to the Indianapolis Colts 53-man roster.
Rhodes had been a member of the Colts practice squad since signing with the organization on Oct. 5.
The former Tribe standout, who wrapped up a tremendous collegiate career at W&M in 2015, signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last spring before being waived during the team's final cuts on Sept. 3.
Rhodes is among a group of six former Tribe players who are currently on NFL rosters: Jonathan Grimes (Houston Texans), DeAndre Houston-Carson (Chicago Bears), Sean Lissemore (San Diego Chargers), Tre McBride (Tennessee Titans) and B.W. Webb (New Orleans Saints).
Rhodes was a three-time first-team All-CAA selection the lone Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) player selected to the 2015 Butkus Award Watch List.