Associate Head Coach Danna Durante (pronounced dur-RAN-tee) begins her ninth season at Nebraska, serving as the Huskers' beam coach and floor choreographer. In addition, Durante assists with off-campus recruiting for the Huskers. The 2007 National Assistant Coach of the Year, Durante was promoted to associate head coach in 2006 after serving as an assistant for four years. She has coached six Husker gymnasts to 18 All-America honors on beam and floor.
Beam and Floor: Leading the Way in 2010
Durante has contributed to Nebraska's continued success in the gymnastics arena, as the 2010 Huskers compiled a 23-8 record. Senior Kathryn Howard led the team on beam in her senior season, tallying five individual titles.
Nebraska captured eight individual beam titles under Durante's watch in 2009. In addition to Howard's accomplishments, senior Kylie Stone, junior Brittnee Habbib and sophomore Kassandra Nathe all added one beam title of their own in 2010.
On floor, NU jumped ahead of the competition with a total of nine individual titles. The floor team was led by sophomore Lora Evenstad, who took home six top finishes. Junior Maria Scaffidi captured two floor titles, and junior Erin Davis notched an event title of her own on floor in 2010.
In her six years at Nebraska, Durante has coached such talents as Richelle Simpson, whose stellar performance on the balance beam at the 2003 NCAA Event Finals landed her a runner-up finish and first-team All-America honors in her junior year. Simpson became the first Husker to score a perfect 10.0 in school history on beam, and her perfect beam and floor routines against Oklahoma in 2003 marked the first time in school history that a gymnast had scored a perfect 10.0 in two events during one meet. She also coached Emily Parsons, who finished her dominant career with a runner-up finish on beam at the 2008 NCAA Event Finals.
Before joining the Nebraska coaching staff, Durante was a five-year assistant on Bob Levesque's staff at the University of Washington, where she helped the Huskies to the 1999 NCAA West Regional title and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Durante handled choreography duties for the Huskies, while also coaching beam and floor. She was honored as the West Regional assistant coach of the year in 1999 and 2002.
"I had high expectations about Nebraska when I arrived, but my experiences have surpassed even those lofty expectations," Durante said. "I'm honored to be a part of this great community and organization. The Husker Nation is truly a family atmosphere. The history and deep traditions of all the athletic programs are phenomenal."
Durante competed for Arizona State from 1992 to 1995, earning All-Pac-10 honors in 1992, 1994 and 1995. She shared the ASU record on the beam after turning in five 10.0 scores in her career and was named to the Pac-10's All-Academic team as a senior.
Before joining the Washington program in 1998, Durante spent two years working as a coach with the Arizona Sunrays and Royal (Fla.) Gymnastics Club.
The Tulsa, Okla., native was a two-time member of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation National team in 1988 and 1990. Durante qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials and won top honors in the all-around in 1986 and 1987 at the South African Cup. She has competed internationally in Germany, France, Bulgaria and South Africa, and was also a two-time member of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation National Team. In addition, Durante served as a USAG Elite Level Judge from 1996 to 2000.
A 1995 graduate of Arizona State with a bachelor of science degree in exercise science/exercise wellness, Durante and her husband, Joe, have one daughter, Samantha (11), and two sons, Jaxson (9) and Jordan (7).