Coach Profile

Head Coach - Women's Gymnastics
Cal Gymnastics Justin Howell

Justin Howell

Shortly before Howell took over the program, the Bears finished the 2012 season ranked 49th nationally. In just two years time, Howell has led the Bears to a No. 16 ranking with a growing conference and national presence. Cal’s 33-spot rise since 2012 marks the largest margin of improvement in NCAA gymnastics history, a feat only one other school has achieved (Maryland, 1997-99).

In 2014, the Bears rewrote the Cal Women's Gymnastics record books, improving in areas across the board. Among the many milestones:

Cal posted a 196.0 or better SIX times, more than any other squad in program history. The team advanced to NCAA Regionals for the second consecutive season and 19th time in program history. It was the first time Cal claimed two individual berths to the NCAA Championships in program history, and the first time Cal sent gymnasts to the NCAA Championships since 2003. The Bears finished third at the Pac-12 Championships, which was the program’s highest finish ever, and the team also posted its highest Pac-12 Championships score (196.550) The Bears claimed 34 event titles this season and 82 Top 3 finishes, up from 15 event titles and 60 Top 3 finishes in 2013. 

The team opened the season with the highest score in a home opener in season history (196.27)

Team Event Highs in 2014:

  • V: 49.325 (second-highest score in program history)
  • UB: 49.275 (fourth-highest score in program history)
  • BB: 49.275 (second-highest score in program history)
  • FX: 49.300  (fourth-highest score in program history)
  • TOTAL: 196.725 (second highest score in program history)

Howell also guided the 2013 squad to its first NCAA Regional berth since 2007 and a season-high team score of 196.525, the second-highest score in program history and highest score since March 2007. For his tremendous accomplishments in his debut season as head coach, Howell was recognized as the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and 2013 NACGC West Region Coach of the Year.

Prior to becoming head coach, Howell was assistant coach with the Golden Bears for the 2012 season. Howell was elevated to the top post following a national search for the position following Danna Durante's resignation to become the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of Georgia. In his first season on the Cal staff, Howell played a major role in guiding the squad to an average score nearly a full point higher than the year prior to his arrival. The Golden Bears saw measureable improvement across the board with 23 gymnasts recording personal high scores and eight student-athletes earning Pac-12 All-Academic honors. Howell brings more than 15 years of experience as a head coach in the area, having served as the head coach and team director at Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara since 1997. In his club coaching career, Howell coached more than 40 gymnasts to NCAA scholarships at 19 different universities, while leading Airborne gymnasts to 30 state championships. He coached two Junior Olympics national AA champions, four JO National Team members and two U.S. National Team members. Howell was named the 2004 Northern California Coach of the Year, the 2008 Region I Coach of the Year, and was appointed a Visa Championships coach in both 2008 and 2010. He is the founder of the Rhythm Attic Dance Studio, a Zumba fitness studio in Santa Clara.

2014 NACGC West Region Coach of the Year

  • 2013 NACGC West Region Coach of the Year
  • 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year
  • 2010 VISA Championships Coach
  • 2008 VISA Championships Coach
  • 2008 Region I Coach of the Year
  • 2004 Northern California Coach of the Year

Howell and wife Elisabeth Crandall-Howell have three children -- Jacob, Noah and Greyson. He received an athletic scholarship at San Jose State University, graduating in 1999 with a B.S. in kinesiology.

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