Long Road Back: How Women's Gymnastics Returned to Power in 2013
This Week in Michigan Women's Gymnastics: at Michigan State
The Weekly Warmup: Shelby Gies
The Weekly Warmup: Brittnee Martinez
The Weekly Warmup: Scott Sherman, Shannon Welker
Assistant women's gymnastics coach Shannon Welker concluded his fifth season as a member of the U-M coaching staff. His primary responsibilites include coaching vault and floor exercise, and coordinating recruiting efforts.
In 2013, Welker was responsible for guiding Joanna Sampson to a national championship on floor exercise, as Sampson became the fourth gymnast in program history to win an individual national championship. That year, Sampson earned NCAA All-America first team honors on vault and floor, while Katie Zurales shared the Big Ten vault title and earned an All-America second team honor on floor exercise. In his five years at Michigan, Welker has coached five U-M gymnasts (Kylee Botterman, Natalie Beilstein, Brittnee Martinez, Sampson, Zurales) to 12 NCAA All-America honors (six on vault, six on floor exercise). In addition, he coached back-to-back NCAA Regional champions on vault (2011, 2012) and three consecutive title-winners on floor exercise (2009, 2010, 2011). He's also had five Big Ten individual champions during that stretch -- three on vault and two on floor exercise.
Welker spent one year as an assistant at Bowling Green after nine years as the head women's gymnastics coach and program director at the St. Louis Gymnastic Center in Missouri. While with the Falcons, Welker focused on the vault and uneven bars, helping send a pair of athletes to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history.
A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Welker was a four-year standout on the men's gymnastics team (1993-97). He was a three-year team captain, an NCAA All-American in 1996 and was the school's Athlete of the Year his senior season. Welker was also a diver from 1993-94. He spent a year (1997-98) as an assistant men's gymnastics coach for his alma mater and, in 2005, was inducted into the University of Illinois at Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame.
Welker earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998, with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology. Welker and his wife, Molly, have two sons, Ian and Brendan.