head coach • 42 seasons • donaldsonville, la • LSU, 1976
With each passing season, LSU gymnastics continues to collect more honors and titles to its storied program, and head coach D-D Breaux has been the catalyst behind LSU’s sustained success.
Led by Breaux, LSU has seen increasing accomplishments that includes 14 NCAA Championships appearances in the last 15 seasons, five Super Six appearances since 2008 and nine individual national titles since 2002. Under Breaux’s leadership and coaching, LSU has reached new heights in individual and team success.
Now entering her 40th season as the mastermind of the LSU gymnastics program, Breaux exudes the same passion and enthusiasm to coach the Fighting Tigers as she did in her first season on the job.
Breaux led the 2016 team to the best season in school history as LSU finished second in the nation. During the season, Breaux reached the exclusive 700 career win milestone as the team compiled a 31-6 overall record, the first time in school history LSU had reached the 30-win mark.
The Tigers score a 197.300 to win the NCAA Athens Regional for the fourth-consecutive regional title and 15th title in program history. Individually, six gymnasts earned 17 All-America honors and Ashleigh Gnat became the fifth gymnast to earn the SEC Floor Exercise title.
In 2015, Breaux guided LSU to a 13-1 overall regular season record, which included a perfect 7-0 record against SEC competition for the first time in school history.
LSU shattered school records all season, including earning the highest score in program history at 198.375. In fact, LSU recorded the first, third and fifth-best team scores in school history in 2015, highlighted by two 198 scores.
Breaux coached the Tigers to a second-place finish at the SEC Championship, and she guided the team to the 2015 NCAA Ames Regional title, the 14th regional team championship in school history.
LSU wrapped up the 2015 season with a fantastic 25-6 record, and the Tigers accumulated a school-record 13 All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, including eight, first-team marks.
For the team’s achievements in 2015, Breaux was named the SEC Coach of the Year and the Central Region Coach of the Year for the third-straight season.
In 2014, Breaux led the Tigers to numerous national and school-record accomplishments, which included a then program-record third-place national finish in the NCAA Super Six Finals, another individual national title by Rheagan Courville on vault, the 13th regional title in school history, the highest score in program history on three different occasions, 20 total All-America honors including a nation-leading five First-Team All-Americans, and a school-record 13 consecutive meets with at least a 197 score.
Because of her outstanding efforts in leading LSU to a record season, Breaux was not only named the 2014 Central Region Coach of the Year, but she was also honored as 2014 National Coach of the Year.
Under Breaux’s leadership, LSU also experienced great success in the 2013 season. The Tigers recorded the 12th regional team title, and LSU reached the NCAA Super Six for the third time, recording a fifth-place finish in the national title meet.
In 2013, the Tigers had six gymnasts rack up a then school record 15 All-America honors and had three gymnasts win five individual SEC titles in Courville (VT, BB, AA), Lloimincia Hall (FX) and Jessica Savona (FX).
LSU set a school record with four gymnasts earning All-SEC honors in 2012, including three freshmen in Courville, Hall and Jessie Jordan, and the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Championships for the 23rd time in Breaux’s career.
In 2010 LSU reached the NCAA Championships for the ninth-straight year while senior Susan Jackson became the first LSU gymnast to capture the NCAA All-Around national title, and she also won the 2010 balance beam title to become LSU’s first three-time NCAA champion.
In 2008 LSU joined elite company by advancing to the NCAA Super Six Finals as Breaux and the Tigers broke through into the six-team field for the first time in program history to compete for college gymnastics’ national championship. The Tigers placed fifth, beating out rival Alabama, for the best finish since the current NCAA format was implemented in 1993. In 2009, LSU made a repeat trip to the Super Six to compete for the national title, and one day later Breaux and staff coached senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney to two individual national titles on vault and floor.
As the “Dean of Coaches” at LSU, Breaux has represented the University at the highest level both in the gym and, most importantly, in the classroom for more than 35 years. Her dedication to the student-athlete on an individual basis has transcended into academic success, community involvement, Coach of the Year honors, an SEC Championship, NCAA Regional Championships and top-10 national rankings throughout her tenure. In fact, there is a tremendous balance between academics and athletics as LSU has produced 184 All-Americans and 141 Scholastic All-Americans during Breaux’s tenure.
During her tenure Breaux has established and maintained LSU's reputation as one of the premier collegiate gymnastics programs in the country. Under her tutelage, the Tigers have placed among the nation's top-10 teams 27 times in 39 seasons, finishing a program-best second in 2016, third in 2014, fourth in 1988, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions.
LSU has also placed among the top three in regional competition on 31 separate occasions, winning regional titles 15 times in four different decades, including back-to-back first-place regional finishes in 2008 and 2009 and four straight in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Under her leadership, LSU has captured 10 individual national titles, 184 All-America honors and 70 All-SEC selections.
Additionally, Breaux's Tigers won the inaugural SEC Championship title in 1981 and have gone on to finish second on five occasions and third seven other times.
For her dedication to the sport and her teams’ numerous accomplishments, Breaux has been recognized by her peers time and time again. In the summer of 2009, Breaux received one of the highest honors as she was voted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame. In 2014, Breaux earned the highest honor from her coaching peers as she was named the National Coach of the Year after leading LSU to a third-place finish in the Super Six.
She has been named the SEC Coach of the Year on six occasions (1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2015), NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year eight times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors in 1988 when she guided the Tigers to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
To this day, the accolades continue to roll in for Breaux and LSU as the program has seemed to reach its zenith in recent years.
Tiger fans descended upon the Maravich Center in 2016 and shattered the home attendance record for the fourth-straight season as an average of 9,906 fans attended each meet. Three of the top-5 most-attended meets took place in 2016 including the most-attended meet when a school-record 13, 296 fans packed the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on March 4 to watch LSU defeat Alabama.
In 2015 LSU broke the school record yet again with a 198.375 team score vs. Minnesota, and fans poured through the Maravich Center doors to watch the Tigers in record numbers.
In fact, LSU shattered the school attendance record with an average of 9,208 fans at each home meet, including two meets with more than 10,000 in attendance. On Feb. 20, 2015, a single-meet record crowd of 12,217 watched No. 3 LSU take down Florida, and two weeks later a new record crowd of 13,179 saw the Tigers beat Minnesota on senior night on March 6.
The 2014 campaign saw LSU shatter school records left and right, including the highest score in school history on three occasions topped by a 198.325 in the NCAA Regional. The Tigers tallied an undefeated home record at 11-0, and LSU ended the season as the only team in the nation to score a 49.0 or higher in every event in every meet all year.
Not only did LSU earn a Super Six berth in 2013, but Breaux picked up career win No. 600 to open the season as the Tigers defeated NC State in the opener.
In the 2012 season, LSU produced four All-SEC and All-America gymnasts, as Hall captured the SEC Floor Exercise title at the SEC Championship and Courville became the first gymnast in LSU history to achieve First Team All-America status in the all-around as a freshman.
In 2010 LSU reached the NCAA Championships for the ninth-consecutive season, and the team finished undefeated at home. Jackson became LSU’s first NCAA All-Around national champion, and she went on to capture the beam national title as well. Jackson made Breaux and LSU proud by earning SEC Gymnast of the Year honors, winning the prestigious AAI Award, Honda Award for Gymnastics and the Corbett Award as Louisiana’s top female athlete as well as being named the SEC Female Athlete of the Year.
Four Tigers earned All-America honors, and Summer Hubbard became LSU’s first three-time First-Team All-American on bars as she was also LSU’s first national runner-up on bars.
In 2009 LSU produced a then school-record six All-American gymnasts with a total of 10 All-America honors, highlighted by senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney who took home first-team honors on vault, bars and floor and followed that up by winning two national titles. For the first time in school history and only the fourth time in NCAA history, LSU had the first and second-place finishers in the vault event final as Clare-Kearney won the national title and junior Susan Jackson was runner-up after winning the title in 2008. Clare-Kearney and Jackson both earned All-SEC honors for the second-straight year as Clare-Kearney repeated as SEC Floor Champion and Jackson was SEC Beam Champion. Clare-Kearney was named NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year, and Jackson won the NCAA Central Regional All-Around title to lead the Tigers to the NCAA Championships.
In 2008 under Breaux’s tutelage, Clare-Kearney and Jackson racked up numerous individual accolades. Jackson was the NCAA Champion on vault. She also was a First Team All-American in the all-around and on vault, beam and floor. Clare-Kearney -- also a First Team All-American on bars and floor -- was named the SEC Gymnast of the Year and also won the SEC All-Around title, the first Tiger gymnast to do so since 1991. LSU earned a total of seven All-America honors and produced two All-SEC selections.
Breaux has led LSU to unprecedented success in the 2000’s as the Tigers finished in the top 10 in 14 seasons since 2000 with 14 NCAA Championships appearances. The Tigers also reached a No. 1 ranking in 2005 and 2014 and boasted four First-Team All-Americans in 2007 – the same year in which the legendary Breaux picked up career victory No. 500. LSU led the nation with five First-Team All-Americans in 2014, and the Tigers were second with six First-Team All-Americans in 2015.
Nine of LSU’s 10 individual national championships have come since 2000, with Nicki Arnstad on floor in 2002, April Burkholder on beam in 2006, Susan Jackson on vault in 2008, Ashleigh Clare-Kearney on vault and floor in 2009, Jackson again in the all-around and beam in 2010 and Courville on vault in 2013 and again in 2014.
An All-Around Coach
Aside from athletic honors, Breaux excels in recruiting quality student-athletes. A Louisianan through and through, Breaux concentrates her recruiting efforts in her native state, but her reach extends to the national and international levels where she has been responsible for recruiting some of Canada’s top athletes of all time and most recently hauled in Great Britain’s Ruby Harrold.
Outside of the gym, Breaux has taken an active role in the academic success her program has achieved in her 35-plus seasons at LSU. By making academic success her team's No. 1 priority, Breaux's teams have reached the highest scholastic goals she has established over the years. Throughout the country, she is acknowledged as having one of the finest academic teams year in and year out. LSU gymnasts have been named Scholastic All-Americans 141 times and members of the SEC Academic Honor Roll on 198 occasions since 1991. In 2016, a school-record 14 of Breaux’s student-athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. In 1999, the Tigers posted the third-highest GPA in the nation and the highest of any team in the NCAA Championship field.
Breaux’s team won the Tiger Cup in 2013, 2014, and 2015, an award given to the LSU team with the most community service hours, the highest GPA and the highest national placement in postseason competition. In addition, the gymnastics team earned the Community Service Award for combining community service with excellence in the classroom at the annual LSU Academic Gala in 2013 and again in 2015.
Also active members of the community, Breaux and her team continually participate in volunteer activities throughout the Baton Rouge area. The team annually takes part in the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Box Program and Operation Christmas Child to provide presents and gifts to children who are less fortunate. From 2005-08 Breaux's teams were awarded the LSU CHAMPS Community Service Award after logging hundreds of hours of community service work.
Breaux, who has served as the Chairperson of the YWCA's Pink Ribbon Campaign for Breast Cancer, and her team have also volunteered their time to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, St. Jude's Hospital and the Alzheimer's Association, among others. The Tigers’ coach also took on a new role in 2008 as the chair for LSU’s United Way campaign, and in 2009 she received the McMain’s Community Service Award from the McMain’s Children’s Development Center, a great honor for Breaux.
From 2008-13, Breaux and the Tigers joined forces with Foundation 56 – an organization established by former LSU standout linebacker and NFL star Bradie James. James’ mother, Etta, succumbed to breast cancer in February 2002. LSU held the Etta James Memorial Meet for six years, raising money for Foundation 56’s efforts to raise awareness and fight breast cancer. In all, LSU gymnastics and the Baton Rouge community raised more than $300,000 for Foundation 56’s fight against breast cancer.
It is this delicate balance among exceptional academics, athletic excellence and exemplary community service efforts that has allowed Breaux to keep her team at the top of the national scene year in and year out.
The foundation for Breaux’s coaching career developed long before her arrival at LSU. An excellent athlete in her own right, Breaux's affiliation with the sport began at the club level where she was a nationally-ranked gymnast by both the A.A.U. and the U.S.G.F.
She was also a Junior Olympic National Champion who earned the S.A.A.U.'s Outstanding Gymnast award. By virtue of her accomplishments Breaux qualified as one of the top-15 athletes in the country to compete at the World Games Trials and was set to compete at the 1972 Olympic Trials before a career-ending knee injury forced her to retire.
Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.
Breaux then served as an assistant coach for the Lady Lions for three seasons, where she also became a national-level judge and served as the first state director for the Louisiana USA gymnastics program. She later transferred to LSU in 1976 where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees.
Breaux is one of eight children and comes from a great family tradition. Her parents, brothers, sisters and their spouses and children have supported the program since the coach’s arrival at LSU. Breaux has two daughters, Jewel and Sara. Sara, her younger child, played soccer at LSU and earned her degree in May 2009. Sara finished her master’s program in public administration in the LSU E.J. Ourso School of Business, and is married to Bobby Dickson. Jewel, Breaux’s older daughter, is also a graduate of LSU, and she served as a volunteer coach for the gymnastics team for several years. Jewel is married to Beau Fourrier, and they are the proud parents of Breaux’s two grandsons, Porter Thomas – who is 10 years old – and Chase Hebert – who is seven.
2017 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
2017 Louisiana Coach of the Year
2017 National Coach of the Year
2017 Central Region Coach of the year
2017 SEC Coach of the Year
USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame
2015 SEC Coach of the Year
2015 Central Region Coach of the Year
2014 National Coach of the Year
2014 Central Region Coach of the Year
2013 Central Region Coach of the Year
2010 Central Region Coach of the Year
2006 Central Region Coach of the Year
2005 Central Region Coach of the Year
2005 SEC Coach of the Year
2002 Central Region Coach of the Year
2000 SEC Coach of the Year
1999 Central Region Coach of the Year
1995 SEC Coach of the Year
1994 SEC Coach of the Year
1993 SEC Coach of the Year
1990 SEC Coach of the Year
1988 National Coach of the Year Finalist
LSU Accolades under Breaux
5 NCAA Super Six Appearances ('08, '09, '13, '14, '16)
32 Consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances
27 NCAA Championships Appearances
10 Individual National Titles
15 Regional Titles
1 Honda Award Recipient
1 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist
184 All-America Honors
18 SEC Champions with 33 SEC Titles
70 All-SEC Honors
141 Scholastic All-Americans
5 SEC Gymnasts of the Year
1 SEC Championship
Overall - 706-416-8 (.628)
Regular Season - 474-252-6 (.652)
Postseason - 232-164-2 (.585)
|YEAR||REGULAR SEASON||POSTSEASON||NATIONAL FINISH||REGIONAL FINISH||SEC FINISH|
|39 Years||474-252-6 (.652)||232-164-2 (.585)|
|* AIAW finish|