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Fisk University Has First Gymnastic Team In HBCU History

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Fisk University Has First Gymnastic Team In HBCU History
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Fisk University’s, an HBCU, gymnastic team has gone viral after video of their first practice in school history has hit social media.

Fisk University is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Nashville, Tennessee and was founded in 1866. Plans to launch a new gymnastics program were announced earlier this year by school president Dr. Vann Newkirk.

“The Fisk women’s gymnastics program is slated to begin this Fall and the enthusiasm has been nothing short of inspiring. The partnership with Brown Girls Do Gymnastics is highly innovative and we are so excited for the future of Fisk athletics,” said school president Dr. Vann Newkirk.

 

Last week, video of Fisk University’s gymnastic team’s first practice went viral on TikTok, being viewed over a million times across platforms.

Fisk University Hires Corrine Tarver, NCAA Champion As Coach

In March, Corrine Tarver was announced as the program’s inaugural head coach. Tarver is no stranger to being a gymnastic trailblazer herself. As a student-athlete at the University of Georgia, she became the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around championship in 1989.

 

“I got a call from Fisk University in March asking if I’d be interested in being the new gymnastics coach for a brand new team they were starting, thinking I had a year, and I said sure,” Tarver told The Black Wall Street Times. “And they were like ‘no, we’re starting in the fall’, and I’m like ‘great’,” Tarver said laughing. 

The story of how Fisk University came to be the first HBCU to have a gymnastics program is a long time coming, but has taken off suddenly.

“One of the Board of Trustee members has a great niece who is a gymnast and she just graduated high school,” Tarver said. “He asked her if she applied to Fisk and she said no. He asked if she was applying to any other HBCUs and she said no, ‘because they don’t have gymnastics’,” Tarver said.

The board member was so shocked that not one HBCU had a gymnastics program, he tasked the institution to look into it and did a feasibility study and “the rest was history”.

The gymnast that originally was committed to Utah State, decommitted once Fisk announced the new program. In fact, she was not the only one.

“Most of our team is level 10’s. We had a young woman who actually signed with Arkansas who decommitted to come to Fisk,” Tarver said.

Morgan Price, who finished third at nationals this past year, will be leading the talented bunch of gymnasts this year at Fisk.

Building Fisk University Gymnastics

Coach Tarver, who is also the athletic director, has enjoyed the freedom of building a program from scratch and building it the way she wants.

“Making the whole department into a vision that I see to move us up from NAIA to NCAA to help make the visibility of this university much stronger” is a goal Tarver said herself and the university is looking to do.

The team will submit an application to join the NCAA’s second division this year, and if approved the probationary period would begin next fall.

Tarver said the team is in talks to get a documentary made following the team’s historic season. Capitalizing off of the viral video on social media, the team will continue to keep providing updates during its inaugural season.

Competition will begin in January. To follow along with the team, click the links below!

Fisk Gymnastics Instagram

Fisk Gymnastics Twitter

Fisk Gymnastics TikTok

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HBCU Updates: Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Urban Views RVA: RVA's Urban Internet Newspaper August 23, 2022 - 9:00 pm

[…] “The Fisk women’s gymnastics program is slated to begin this Fall and the enthusiasm has been nothing short of inspiring. The partnership with Brown Girls Do Gymnastics is highly innovative and we are so excited for the future of Fisk athletics,” said school president Dr. Vann Newkirk in a release. […]

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