A combination of fresh and familiar faces rounded out the Bruins’ new staff.
UCLA gymnastics coach Janelle McDonald, who joined the program in May, has locked staff around her at Westwood for the 2023 season. Former volunteer assistant coach BJ Das has been promoted to full-time assistant full, with Kyle Grable joining her as the Bruins’ second assistant and Autumn Grable starting as a volunteer assistant coach.
Das has been at UCLA since 2020, while the Grables were co-coaches at Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center in Indianapolis for the past five years.
“In seeking to develop a staff that will build the next chapter of UCLA gymnastics, I wanted to bring in coaches who see our athletes as people first and will celebrate each person’s character and individuality,” McDonald’s said in a statement released by the team. . “Building a culture full of integrity, hard work, inclusivity and empathy for our student-athletes had to become second nature to the coaches of this staff. Additionally, I wanted coaches who had the technical knowledge to match the skill level and talent of the student-athletes on our team. With this staff, I am more confident than ever with our student-athletes, we can create something truly special in this next chapter of UCLA gymnastics.
Das worked as a lead choreographer for the Bruins, and she was credited for putting together Nia Dennis’ viral routines in 2020 and 2021. Margzetta Frazier also went viral in 2021 for pulling off one of Das’ routines, while Chae Campbell and Pauline Tratz each earned Pac-12 championship victories this season thanks to their choreography.
In 2020 – Das’ first season at Westwood – UCLA ranked No. 1 in the nation on floor. The previous year, Das was a volunteer assistant at Utah and led the Red Rocks to the top five in the national floor standings.
Das has performed live and in music videos with Beyonce, P!nk, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and was assistant choreographer on Simone Biles’ Gold Over America tour in 2021.
The Grables, unlike Das, don’t have much Pac-12 experience, but they bring elite experience to Westwood from the Midwest.
Kyle majored in uneven bars training at JPAC, while Autumn primarily trained balance beam and floor exercises. The two have combined to train a handful of Level 10 National All-Around, Beam and Bars Champions.
Both Gables were at Gym-Nation until 2017, with Kyle starting there in 2007 and Autumn in 2011.
With the arrival of the new assistants, Kristina Comforte and Dom Palange have officially been replaced in the team. Das is the only remnant of Coach Chris Waller’s staff from last season.
Waller and his team couldn’t lead UCLA to the NCAA championships in any of their three seasons, so McDonald’s new team was able to get the Bruins back to the Finals for the first time since leaving. from Valorie Kondos Field in 2019.