Brighton resident gets national honor
Jeff Ide has brought an opportunity to work with an internationally recognized talent level to Washington area young people.
Ide, a Brighton resident since 1984, is in his second year as the head coach of the Fairfield Gymnastics team. He was recently recognized as Coach of the Year by the United States Trampoline and Tumbling Association, and his success goes far back in his life.
Ide started competing as a gymnast at Moline High School as a freshman. He participated on the trampoline and as an All-Around athlete. Ide still owns the Moline High School record book in those sports.
“I attribute my success to working under Coach Brent Simmons while I was in high school. Simmons was a Nissen Award winner (the collegiate gymnastics equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in college football), a world champion and an Olympian,” Ide explained.
After high school, Ide joined the Air Force to participate in gymnastics there. He worked with the West German team to prepare them for the World Games in 1978 and 1979.
From there, Ide started coaching domestically at Rockridge High School in Edgington, Ill. He led Rockridge to a state championship while working with the local YMCA as well.
Since starting Fairfield Gymnastics, Ide has enjoyed success there as well. Five members of his team are ranked in the USTA Top 10, a pool of about 1,600 young people all over the nation. Eighteen athletes from the team will be competing at nationals on June 16.
“The thrill of excitement on the kids’ faces are why I coach now. I love seeing the kids improve and seeing the sports appeal to more kids. The demand is growing because the sport gives the kids an alternative. No matter who you are, you can do trampoline and tumbling,” Ide added.
With Ide at the helm of what has become a growing sport wth ample opportunity for all, the chances of young gymnasts in the area achieving success are great.