Profile gymnastics coach receives Diploma of Distinction

by Martin McConnell

Every great sports dynasty has to start somewhere and for Brecksville-Broadview Heights gymnastics, that “somewhere” is the coaching tenure of Independence Local Schools alumni Joan Ganim ’65.

The Independence Alumni Association honored Ganim with the Diploma of Distinction at a ceremony on June 12. Dale Veverka, Independence Alumni Association president, said, “We’re honoring her because she has so many gymnastics championships, state championships in a row.”

In March 2023, the Bees won their 20th consecutive state title in the sport of team gymnastics. After Ganim announced her retirement in 2019, her children took over with the hope of continuing the standard of excellence their mother set decades ago.

Ganim got choked up during her speech at the ceremony but made certain to thank those who helped her throughout her career. Specifically, she thanked the talented athletes that she had coached over the years.

“I have no words. I’m just very honored by it,” Ganim said. “I love working with kids. We’ve been very fortunate, you know, and I’ve had a lot of good people around me.”

According to Ganim, that feeling of capturing the state championship doesn’t get old.

“I want to remember them all. We have 23 overall in Brecksville, and each one is a special one in its own way,” Ganim said. “Every year, it’s a new group of kids, new challenges. You just never know what you’re going to have.”

Ganim’s daughter introduced her prior to her speech, highlighting not only her work as a coach but her ability to be just as consistent and successful as a mother. She also discussed the pressure of keeping up with expectations as a co-coach of the team.

“She [Ganim] created it. She didn’t come into it. We came into it, and now we have to sustain it, which is kind of scary,” Schneider said.

Ganim said she will do everything in her power to ensure that the success her program has seen can, and will, continue into the future. After all, her run of state championships as head coach was anything but a solo project, she said.

“I’ve been so fortunate over the years to coach thousands of kids,” Ganim said. “At the high school level, the state levels, regionals, national, international levels. Honestly, the success in the program isn’t from me. It’s from all the talented coaches that I’ve had, and that I’ve worked with. You can’t do it by yourself.” ∞

Photo: Dale Veverka (l), Independence Alumni Association President, stands with diploma of distinction honoree Joan Ganim. Photo by Martin McConnell.