The way LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux’s new contract reads — a one-year extension on her previous deal through the 2020 season — it looks like she is set up for retirement after two more seasons.
Breaux’s response: Don’t read too much into things.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Breaux said Friday. “My heart is here. My family is here. We have the finest facility in the nation. I have the best administration I’ve ever had and a village of people who take pride in what we’re doing.
The LSU Board of Supervisors easily approved Breaux’s contract extension Friday, along with an increase in her guaranteed compensation from $275,000 to $405,000 per season.
“She’s an icon,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva told the board when proposing her new contract.
Breaux’s Tigers are coming off their third straight NCAA Super Six appearance and their second straight pair of Southeastern Conference regular season and championship meet titles.
As soon as Breaux steps onto the floor for her team’s first meet of 2019, she will begin her 42nd season, breaking the record she shares with Kentucky basketball legend Adolph Rupp as the longest-tenured coaches in any sport in SEC history.
Breaux said she recently watched “Glory Road,” the movie partly filmed on LSU’s campus about Rupp’s Wildcats’ loss to Texas Western in the historic 1966 NCAA final.
While Rupp’s team didn’t win that title, he did lead UK to four NCAA championships.
“We’re still looking for the big one,” Breaux said.
On the mend
Breaux said McKenna Kelley continues to look good on her road back from a November Achilles’ tendon injury that sidelined her the entire 2018 season.
“She looks really good right now,” Breaux said. “She’s excited about what she’s doing and is really committed.”
Kelley recently tweeted a photo of herself striking a gymnastics pose behind the words, “Don’t call it a comeback.”
“It’s more than a comeback!” Kelley tweeted. “I do it for this school, for such a supportive program. FOREVER LSU.”
It’s more than a comeback! I do it for this school, for such a supportive program. FOREVER LSU 💜💛 https://t.co/UX0a774WJ4— McKenna Kelley (@mckennamckelley) June 25, 2018
Breaux said rising senior Lexie Priessman recently underwent shoulder surgery but that her rehab is on schedule. The surgery was the ninth of Priessman’s gymnastics career dating back to her pre-LSU days.
“She should be doing some good gymnastics by Thanksgiving,” Breaux said.
"Feels so good to workout," Priessman tweeted June 21, "... even with one arm"
FEELS SO GOOD TO WORKOUT... even with one arm 🙌🏼🙌🏼— Lexie Priessman (@lpriessman2016) June 22, 2018
The gymnast they call "Lil’ Ninja" is going to be an LSU Tiger a year early.
Bailey Ferrer, a Level 10 gymnast from Orlando, Florida, announced recently that she will enroll early at LSU in January and compete immediately for the Tigers.
“Excited to announce I will be attending LSU spring of 2019!!” Ferrer tweeted.
Last JO competition💙 Excited to announce I will be attending LSU spring of 2019!! Thank you to my coaches for everything, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them💜🐯 #geauxtigers pic.twitter.com/tv5pAGEyBa— Bailey Ferrer (@baileyf37) May 13, 2018
A native of Orlando, Florida, Ferrer is coached by Ray Gnat, father of former LSU All-American Ashleigh Gnat and himself a former LSU gymnast.
“Bailey is a very powerful and competitive athlete,” Gnat said. “She is so excited to be coming to LSU that she is coming early.
“To watch her reminds me of McKenna Kelley, all that tumbling and vaulting power, with a great personality.”
Christina Desiderio, a two-time All-SEC selection as a freshman, was an early enrollee for the Tigers this past season. Before Ferrer's decision, LSU did not have an incoming freshman for 2019 after bringing in seven newcomers in 2018.