Dr. Sho Fukushima, a tenured professor in Physical Education, has guided the Navy gymnastics program for the past 21 seasons with class, honor and dignity.
The numbers -- both academically and athletically -- that have been produced during Fukushima's tenure speak for themselves.
In the classroom, Fukushima has produced 40 All-America Scholar-Athletes, and in the athletic arena, he has coached the Mids to a total of 38 NCAA Championship qualifying performances.
"When I first arrived at the Naval Academy, there was no organization at all in the program," Fukushima said. "I was determined to change everything in the program and have it fit my liking. It took nearly three years, but I was finally able to blend Midshipmen who excelled in the classroom and in the athletic arena."
Last season, Fukushima guided Navy to its fourth consecutive Star as the Mids defeated Army in Annapolis. Fukushima also mentored Andrew Faulk to one of the best individual seasons in program history. Faulk was named a finalist for the Nissen-Emery Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top senior male gymnast. He was the first Nissen-Emery Award finalist from Navy since 1973. Faulk, who placed 13th in the all-around at the NCAA Championships, also earned the Thompson Trophy Cup, which is presented annually to the midshipman, male or female, who has done the most during the year to promote athletics at the Naval Academy.
In 2009, he guided the Mids to one of their finest seasons since taking over the reigns, as they finished with an impressive 15-4 record and coached Navy to a N-Star victory at Army, in addition to its second-straight All-Academy Championship. The Midshipmen also earned their first trip as a team to the NCAA Qualifying Meet.
The accomplishments of his athletes at Navy has also brought him much deserved individual recognition as well.
In 1997-98, 1999-00, 2004-05 and 2007-08, Fukushima was named Coach of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (NACGC) and was named Men's Team Coach of the Year by USA Gymnastics. He was also named East Region Coach of the Year by the coaches' association and, two years ago, was honored as the ECAC Coach of the Year.
"The individual awards are nice, but what is special when some of my former gymnasts have returned and finally thanked me for what I was able to do for them when they were here," he added. "That is what makes coaching special."
Fukushima, who owns a 213-209 (.505) all-time record, came to Navy in 1991 after coaching in several places around the world.
He began his gymnastics career in Japan and moved onto other places, including the Montreal Olympics and the Verna World Championships. He has coached five Olympians and five USA National Team members. He has also published two books on gymnastics in Sweden and England, in addition to writing numerous articles in Europe, Japan and the United States.
Fukushima graduated from Washington with a B.A. and M.S., and completed his Ph.D. at California in 1984. He earned the Pac-8 Conference Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year award in 1971, while also achieving All-America status. He was Pac-10 Coach of the Year at California three times (1984,`87,`89) and was also NCAA Western Region Coach of the Year in 1980.