NIU Men's Gymnastics History
After finishing 6th nationally in 1982, 8th in 1983, sending various individuals to compete in the NCAA National Championships and even producing a National Champion in 1984 Northern Illinois University dropped their men's gymnastics program. With a storied history and a decade full of both team and individual success the chapter book was closed and put on the shelf.
Although NIU has always had a strong recreational gymnastics program since the program dropped, the birth of the Men's GymACT Team began when Coach Josh Levin learned about the GymACT program from Washington Coach Giancarlo Mora at the 2018 JO Nationals. At this time UIC heard rumors that the athletic director was dropping their NCAA Program. Levin, as well as many proactive gymnastics enthusiasts were active online discussing ideas for Chicago gymnastics, when Levin met Southern California United coach Heinz Shulmeister. Coach Shulmaister was the first to call Coach Levin to tell his story of how he became the first person to start a collegiate co-op program using students from multiple schools. Heinz and Josh wondered if Chicago could do something similar.
A few weeks later, Josh got a call from Scott Barclay, the head coach at Arizona State, and told Levin, "NIU was an amazing program back in the day. If you want to help out in the Chicago area why don't you start at NIU?". Miraculously, an NIU club gymnast, Zach Cipra, showed up at the club where Levin worked one week after Barclay's call. When Zach met Coach Levin, it was a gymnastics relationship meant to happen from the heavens. That year, Levin and Zach recruited 9 other gymnasts in the area to join the first ever NIU GymACT program. The two of them worked together to create a program and structure to compete against other NCAA teams for the 1st time in the 2020 season.
Northern Illinois Men's Gymnastics is back! The return of the Huskies would not be possible without Coaches Josh Levin and Trent Jarrett, along with former NIU gymnast and owner of Energym Andy Morreale as well as St. Charles Gymnastics. The Huskies had their first meet at the 2020 Windy City competition in Chicago followed by meets at University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, UIC, and Arizona State University.