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Fisk University to Launch First HBCU Women's Gymnastics Team

Fisk University will become the first HBCU school to host an intercollegiate women's gymnastics program.
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Fisk University will become the first HBCU school to launch and host an intercollegiate women's gymnastics program. The inaugural season will commence in January 2023. Fisk trustee Frank Simmons spearheaded the project to bring women's gymnastics to the prestigious university.

"We are really excited about this historical event. Fisk has always lead the way regarding HBCU milestones. We continue to do so today," said athletic director Dr. Larry Glover.


Fisk University is delighted to announce the launch of the first HBCU Intercollegiate Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team. Woman’s gymnastics exemplifies the values of Fisk University: determination, excellence, and a commitment to a more just and equitable future. These values have consistently been at the forefront of women’s gymnastics and Fisk could not be more excited to welcome these remarkable student-athletes to the campus starting this coming fall. 

Fisk University has always been recognized for its commitment to academic excellence and social justice. In recent years, the University has focused on increasing its athletic profile considering the growing interest among student-athletes for an elite HBCU experience. With NBA legend Kenny Anderson and former Soccer star Desmond Armstrong as well as an outstanding woman’s volleyball program under Coach Jessica Enderle, Fisk is poised to develop elite national programs.

Fisk University Launches HBCU Women's Gymnastics Team

Fisk University has built remarkable momentum in recent years said, President Vann Newkirk. The University is committed to preparing the next generation of leaders and c-suite executives. Student-Athletes depend on an institution that enables them to translate their unique skills to professional success. Fisk’s many corporate partners are excited about the talent pipelines and the programming that has been put in place to maximize the potential of our students and our student-athletes. 

The recent announcement of Fisk’s partnership with the Los Angeles Lakers adds another opportunity for Fisk students to excel in the sports industry. In anticipation of this women’s gymnastics announcement, Fisk University has already begun securing scholarship funding for these future student-athletes. Fisk University also plans to host several conferences, clinics, and invitationals in partnership with organizations like Brown Girls do Gymnastics.


The team will perform as an independent at meets across the country under the NAIA. Derrin Moore of Brown Girls Do Gymnastics advised the university on establishing the program. She was a former gymnast who wanted to see more women of color represented in HBCUs' gymnastics. 

Unfortunately, no HBCU had a current men's and women's gymnastics program. Simmons connected with Moore for advice and found a private donor to sponsor the first HBCU women's intercollegiate program of its kind for Fisk.

Moore told me that "women gymnasts are very intelligent and average a 3.6 GPA in school."  Athletes would commit up to 30 hours of training each week for collegiate gymnastics. However, many parents are unaware of getting their children into gymnastics and the proper selection process for a coach and program.

Moore hopes that providing resources and education will be the catalyst for more interest and HBCU schools to start programs.

In 2021, Grambling State considered adding a gymnastics program to its athletic department. 


Black female and other minority gymnasts have jumped to top of the sport.  United States female gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, and Dominque Dawes won gold medal in competition at their respective Olympics.  Biles is considered the greatest female gymnasts of all time.   Since Dawes participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics and took home the team gold medal, the black community's interest in the sport grew.


Fisk University is a highly ranked historically black university, according to U.S. News and World Report, and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee. Fisk’s outstanding faculty and students continue to enhance the University’s international reputation for academic excellence. Our scholars continue to make strides in all areas of the industry from Social Justice to the sciences. 

A Fisk education prepares our students to become beacons in servicing the community and well-rounded leaders and scholars in their respective fields. Fisk offers more than 20+ undergraduate and graduate programs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Clinical Psychology with a bridge Masters to Ph.D. programs through a partnership with Vanderbilt University.

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