Honors and Awards
Chuck Chmelka enters his ninth season as Nebraska's head coach prepared to lead the Huskers through their seventh season in the Big Ten in 2018.
In his last eight years as NU's head coach, he has helped produce five top-10 NCAA finishes and eight All-Americans. Chmelka looks to continue leading the Huskers to become one of the nation's top-ranked programs in the years to come.
In 2017, Chmelka led the Huskers to the team finals at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1999, where the team finished sixth nationally. Chmelka produced two All-Americans in Austin Epperson and Kyle King - both on floor. Additionally, Anton Stephenson claimed the Big Ten vault title at the Big Ten Championships, becoming Chmelka's first conference winner and Big Ten Champion, and the program's first since 2002. Chmelka also helped Chris Stephenson claim NCAA Gymnast-of-the-Week accolades in 2017.
The 2016 season was a record-breaking campaign for Chmelka's Huskers. The team shattered school records nearly every week, including total team score, total floor score (twice), total pommel horse score (twice) and total high bar score. Individually, Ethan Lottman and Kyle King broke the program record on pommel horse (15.55) and floor (15.85), respectively.
The Huskers made a run in the postseason as well. Daniel Leal placed second on parallel bars at the 2016 Big Ten Championships.
At the 2016 NCAA Championships, the team finished seventh, its best overall finish since 1999. Additionally, four gymnasts (Ethan Lottman, Sam Chamberlain, Austin Epperson and Anton Stephenson) took home All-America awards. It was the first time since 1998 that four separate gymnasts each took home an All-America honor.
In 2015, Chmelka helped the Huskers overcome several health issues during the season. Junior Ethan Lottman erupted for a breakout year under Chmelka, earning All-America honors on pommel horse at the NCAA event finals. Lottman also captured the Elite 89 Award and second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades.
The Huskers completed the 2014 season strong despite being plagued with injuries early on. Senior Wyatt Aycock led the team in the all-around, earning his second All-America honors in a row. Over the course of the season, a total of 15 Huskers tied or set career-highs on individual events. These achievements helped pave the way for NU's eighth-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Chmelka led Nebraska to history in the 2013 season by producing three All-Americans in Wyatt Aycock, Grant Perdue and Sam Chamberlain. The trio became NU's 48th, 49th and 50th All-Americans since 1975. At the time, these All-America honors were the most earned in a single season since the program last produced three All-Americans in 1999.
Chmelka first led a historic change in Nebraska's program in 2011-12, as the Huskers entered their first season in the tradition-rich Big Ten Conference. Under Chmelka's leadership, NU completed its inaugural Big Ten season with a 10th-place NCAA finish paced by freshman All-American Grant Perdue.
Historic changes are nothing new to Chmelka. Before the 2010 season, Chmelka replaced legendary NU coach Francis Allen, an icon of U.S. men's gymnastics.
In his first season as head coach, Chmelka helped the Huskers improve in 2010. Nebraska returned to the national top 10 by tying for ninth with a veteran team. In 2011, the Huskers continued to build by posting another top-10 national finish despite a lineup made up of primarily first- and second-year gymnasts.
Chmelka has deep ties to the tradition-rich Nebraska gymnastics program. He served as an assistant under Allen from 1986 to 2009, and assisted with three of the Huskers' eight national team championships. Chmelka also competed at Nebraska from 1978 to 1981 and was a member of NU's first three national championship teams in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
Since Chmelka joined the staff in 1986, he has coached Nissen-Emery Award winners Wes Suter (1986) and Tom Schlesinger (1988) and helped Nebraska win eight conference crowns. Chmelka was named the 2007 CGA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the 2009 CGA West Region award.
Since 1982, Chmelka has been the program director and head coach for the Nebraska School of Gymnastics (NSG) boys' team, producing such athletes as former Nebraska All-Americans Dusty Jakub, Blake Bukacek, Derek Leiter, Ryan McEwen, Burkett Powell and Jason Christie. NSG athletes have competed in the Junior Pan American Games, Junior Olympic Nationals, Olympic Festival and have traveled abroad for various competitions (Junior Pacific Alliance Championships and USA vs. Canada).
After completing his eligibility at NU, Chmelka was a volunteer assistant coach while finishing his bachelor's degree in community health, which he earned in 1982. In 1988, Chmelka added a bachelor's degree in education.
An Omaha South graduate and product of Omaha Sokol and the legendary Phil Cahoy Sr., Chmelka was a high school and collegiate teammate of Husker Olympians Jim Hartung and Phil Cahoy Jr.
Chmelka is married to former Husker gymnast and Lincoln native Kim Grabowski. A four-year letterwinner, Grabowski helped the Huskers win the 1983 Big Eight Championship and was crowned the all-around champion the same year. The couple has one son, Alex, who attends the University of Nebraska.