Thompson competed at the collegiate level for LSU. That background makes it easy for the gymnasts to relate to her.
“She knows what we’re going through at this time,” said sophomore gymnast Allyson Sandusky. “For her to have a background of doing awesome at LSU, she knows what it takes to win.”
While at LSU, Thompson was an All-American from 1988-91 and won the SEC All-Around Championship in 1991.
She was also a finalist for the Honda-Broderick Award, presented annually to the collegiate woman athlete of the year.
Thompson was the first gymnast for LSU to score a perfect 10.00, which she recorded on floor against Florida in 1991.
“I loved getting out on the floor exercise because I do have one of those colorful personalities and love being the center of attention,” Thompson said.
Thompson is a native of Baton Rouge, La., but finished her degree at Auburn. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education. At Auburn, Thompson helps coach alongside her husband, head coach Jeff Thompson.
The pair actually met at Auburn during her senior year at the NCAA region championships.
“We actually saw each other from across the gym, if you will,” Thompson said. “He asked me to do his training camp and a year later we were married.”
Thompson said she enjoys working with her husband every day.
“It’s amazing to wake up every morning and go to work with someone you love and your life partner,” Thompson said. “I’m not going to say it’s easy all the time, we have our disagreements, but through the years we’ve worked out a system to deal with our problems.” Sandusky said it is fun having both of them as coaches and enjoys watching them together. “It’s entertaining because they can be complete opposites sometimes,” Sandusky said. “So if you kind of get upset with one coach, you can just go over to the next.” Coaching was not something Thompson saw in her future while she was at LSU.
“When I was a gymnast, I had the whole white picket fence in my head of getting married and have kids and be a stay at home mom,” Thompson said. “Then ImetJeffandhewasa coach and we got the job at Auburn.”
The couple has two sons together, Parker, 14, and Griffin, 12. Thompson said she was initially devastated about never having a girl, but now understands why things worked out they way they did.
“God gave me 19 young women that I deal with every day,” Thompson said. “Our oldest son loves coaching and loves being in the gym and is actually working in our gymnastics academy now.” Thompson has used her knowledge to lead several Tigers into the record books.
2008 graduate, Julie Dwyer, recorded the second-best beam score in school history, who Thompson coached.
Dwyer earned a 9.950 during a meet at Denver University in 2008.
Dwyer was ranked second nationally on beam for three straight weeks.
In 2006, Dwyer became the only Auburn Tiger in history to earn All-American honors on beam.
Dwyer also recorded the second-best score in Auburn history on the floor exercise in 2007.
Thompson also coached two Tigers to a perfect 10.00 score.
Both were recorded on beam, one from Sally Cantrell, graduated 2002, and the other from Rachel Tarantino, graduated 2005.
Sandusky said Thompson is a good motherly figure for the girls and really cares about the team.
“Her door is always open for us to go talk to her,” Sandusky said. “She’s very supportive and if you need something, she will more than gooutofherwaytotry and help you.”
Thompson said she loves watching athletes and the gymnastics program grow at Auburn.
“From where we started 11 years ago, to see where we are now, it’s really amazing,” Thompson said.