Huskie gymnastics finds a new coach to lead this season

By Jasmine Willett

DeKALB | Sam Morreale will lead the NIU gymnastics team this season as its new head coach.

Morreale is no freshman to NIU, as he’s been a Huskie for a considerable amount of time.

“This will be my ninth season as a Huskie,” Morreale said. “I volunteered for four years, and I was a full time assistant coach for four years.”

Morreale served as a member of the NIU Gymnastics coaching staff under former head coach, Mark Sontag, who was with the program for 12 seasons. Sontag left the Huskies to pursue other opportunities.

Throughout his time with the Huskies, Morreale has been an instrumental part of recruiting many of the returning athletes this season, said Jeff Compher, the Director of Athletics at NIU.

“He has credibility, the team looks at him as an excellent coach. He did a lot of recruiting. He is very dedicated as well. He was the best choice to lead the NIU program,” said Jeff Compher.

The Addison Trail High School graduate’s relationship with NIU goes back almost 30 years when he was a walk-on for the men’s gymnastics team in 1984. The Illinois native finished his career as a Huskie by earning a pair of letters and serving as team captain during the 1986-87 season.

“He has a great history at NIU. His wife is the coach of the Silverettes for the band also,” said Jeff Compher.

Morreale is excited for this new opportunity at NIU.

“I look forward to putting my stamp on the program,” Morreale said. “I’ve been here for a while now. I look forward to being in the number one chair and returning to a great team.”

Since Morreale’s time with the Huskies, the program sent 15 gymnasts to NCAA Regional competitions.

Morreale said NIU can expect a lot from the women’s gymnastics team this year. Since the majority of the gymnastics team is returning and will compete under their new head coach, Huskie fans can expect a new direction for the program.

“We will be fun to watch, competitive, with high energy,” Morreale said. “We will also be supportive of each other. Fans can expect to see some really good gymnastics this season.”