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Deb Timmerman

Deb Timmerman graduated from River Falls High School in 1967. She was an active participant in the Girls Athletic Association, competing three times a year with girls from surrounding schools.  That set the scene for Deb’s drive to always look for a better way.

Deb graduated from UW-River Falls in 1970 with honors. During this time, intercollegiate sport programs for women were in their infancy. Four UW-RF students including Deb, decided to start a gymnastics team. Working on their own without a coach, Deb led the team with an individual conference championship on beam and placed fifth overall on the vault.

In addition to competing, Deb started to work with young athletes in River Falls. The first youth team competed AAU gymnastics in 1968. She also started to build a gymnastics feeder program by teaching tumbling in the UWRF wrestling room where her dad was head coach.

In 1968, invitational tournaments could not be offered at high schools. To promote gymnastics, Deb organized and managed the first River Falls Invitational. At the time there were no Wisconsin schools participating at the tournament because competitive gymnastics was not offered. This tournament was later moved to RFHS when Deb became the RFHS gymnastics coach.

While teaching in the River Falls School District, Deb started an intramural program at River Falls Junior High. Intramurals included a variety of sports, one being gymnastics, which led to the founding of girls athletics in River Falls. Deb started Saturday gymnastics workshops in surrounding communities to get girls interested in gymnastics. This work led to other schools offering gymnastics competition to their students.

As a coach Deb placed an emphasis on building character, sharing the joy of meeting goals, and taking very motivated girls a distance they would not have gone on their own.

Deb would like to thank all those who supported her efforts over the years, especially her two boys who grew up in the gymnastics gym and had late dinners.