Dickinson Gymnastics Coach Retires

Local Sports

A gymnastics coach is walking away from his life long career.

Dickinson High School’s gymnastics Coach Kent Van Ellis is retiring at the end of this year.

With a career that spans almost 50 years, two states, and almost a dozen state titles, the coach says he’s ready to relax.

“It takes a long time to do all this stuff. And I need to get a chance to do something else. When I say Something else I mean hobbies or other activities. I’m definitely going to retire,” shares Van Ellis.

Van Ellis has taught thousands of gymnasts throughout the years, with almost 400 kids this year alone.

“I feel like he just gives me confidence. Whenever I’m really struggling on something, he’s always the person that can really get to me and help me get through a mental block. He definitely helps me have confidence,” shares Dickinson High School gymnast Ayanna Fossum.

Van Ellis is hoping to stick the landing as his team works towards a 5 peat heading into state next week, they’re the number one team in North Dakota.

This coach has set the bar high, and he is confident it will continue long after he’s gone.

“To make sure that there’s a program going on. That continues to be successful for the community and for the school. And I feel real fortunate that with the support of the athletic director and administration that, that will continue,” says Van Ellis.

He says although his time with the Dickinson Gymnastics club has come to an end the memories will always be with him.

While many moments stand out for the coach, one in particular is his own daughter becoming a state champion in 2007.

The coach plans on traveling to California to see his daughter, then to North Carolina to see his son.

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