CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois men’s gymnastics interim head coach Daniel Ribeiro announced Tim McNeill will take on the role as assistant head coach on Friday (Aug. 6). McNeill, a decorated gymnast turned head coach at the University of California, Berkeley, returns to coaching after stepping away in 2013.
“I could not be more excited to add Tim to our coaching staff,” Ribeiro said. “I can say with confidence that Illinois has the best coaching staff in the country. I now have two assistant coaches that both have Division I, Power 5, head coaching experience. Tim ticked every single box I was looking for along with boxes I didn’t ‘t even know I was looking for.”
Considered one of the most successful gymnasts in the history of Cal’s program, McNeill earned All-America honors each of his four years as a Golden Bear from 2005-08. He captured the first of his school-record five NCAA individual championship titles as a sophomore when he won the pommel horse competition in 2006. He later claimed both the pommel horse and parallel bars titles at the NCAA Championships in both 2007 and 2008. At the end of his senior season, McNeill received the Pac-10 Medal as the most outstanding senior male student-athlete at Cal.
After graduating from Cal in 2008, McNeill spent the 2009 season as a graduate intern with the Bears before training full-time with the US National team.
McNeill returned to his alma mater as Cal’s head coach for three seasons from 2010-2013. As Cal’s coach, McNeill was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year in 2011. He guided the Bears to fourth-place NCAA finishes in both 2011 and 2012, with one individual pommel horse champion in 2012.
Four of his student-athletes became members of the US National Team, two became members of the Filipino National Team, and one became a member of the Swiss National Team, all under his tutelage. McNeill went on to coach at the Olympic Trials in 2012, and he was chosen by USA Gymnastics to coach the US delegation at the 2012 World Cup competition in Croatia.
Prior to his time at Cal, McNeill competed in three Junior Olympic National Championships in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 2000, McNeill placed third on parallel bars, and in 2002 he finished fourth on pommel horse. In 2004 he broke through for a first-place finish on pommel horse, while also capturing third in all-around and fourth in the parallel and high bar competitions.
A fixture on the US Senior National team from 2006-11, McNeill boasts an impressive resume on the international stage. He won his first international medal in 2010 when he placed third on parallel bars at the Moscow World Cup. Other highlights include competing in the finals of the 2008 Olympic Trials, winning pommel horse at the 2009 Winter Cup Challenge, and taking home the parallel bars title and finishing second in the all-around at the 2009 VISA Championships. McNeill earned a place on the US team for the 2009 World Championships where he placed fifth on pommel and seventh in the all-around. In 2010, he was voted as the US Gymnast of the Year.
Aside from gymnastics, McNeill is a voice in the community for mental health. He interned at both an HIV clinic and a residential substance abuse facility. He also spent time as a mental health counselor at a substance abuse facility for adolescent boys. Later, McNeill opened his own private practice, helping adolescents and adults with mental health and substance abuse issues, while also providing sports guidance to help athletes perform at their highest potential.
“Tim is young and passionate; he has a brilliant gymnastics mind and a ton of experience.” Ribeiro added. “His work in mental health and sports psychology will also be a huge asset for our athletes.”