Kent State Gymnastics Camps

Coaching Staff

Sharon Sabin
Assistant Coach

Sharon Sabin begins her 13th year as a member of the Kent State gymnastics coaching staff in 2015-16.

Sabin was the primary coach for the balance beam in the 2014-15 season where she directed Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year and MAC Speicalist of the Year, Rachel Stypinski, at the NCAA Regionals in Columbus, Ohio where Stypinski tied for 13th with a 9.800. Stypinski tied for third at the conference championships in Kent, where the team walked away with their 12th MAC title.

In 2014, Sabin directed the 2014 Mid-American Conference Balance Beam Champion, Marie Case. Case scored a 9.900 at the conference championships, while teammate Nicolle Eastman tied for 7th with a 9.775.

Under Sabin's tutelage, the Golden Flashes had one individual rank nationally, three regionally and four in the top-25 of the conference. On the national level, the team ranked 35th and Case finished tied for 27th. in the region, the team finished ranked 7th as Case finished t-9th, Eastman ranked 37th and Nicole Radon ranked t-45th. In the conference, the team ranked 2nd with individuals ranking at Case 2nd, Eastman 14th, Radon 18th, and Jordan Hardison 22nd.

With Sabin's direction at the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La., Case scored a 9.850 on the beam and tied for 15th while at the NCAA National Championships, in Birmingham, Ala., she finished tied for 23rd with a 9.800.

The 2011 National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) Assistant Coach of the Year helped lead the Golden Flashes to their first trip to the NCAA Championships in program history after placing second at the 2011 NCAA Ann Arbor Regional April 2, achieving the special feat of competing for a national title while also playing co-host to the event along with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Kent State defeated the likes of No. 4 Stanford, No. 16 Ohio State and No. 23 Minnesota at the regional en route to becoming the first regional six seed and MAC team ever to advance to the national finals. The Golden Flashes completed the season with their highest ranking in program history at No. 12 after totaling a team score of 195.000 on April 15 at the national semifinals at the Wolstein Center.

The Golden Flashes have captured three Mid-American Conference championship meet crowns during Sabin's tenure as an assistant coach, including back-to-back titles in 2008 and '09.

Sabin's coaching resume includes experience at the Big Ten, Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference levels.

Sabin came to Kent State from Debi and Rick’s School of Gymnastics in Pittsburgh, where she served as the head coach. Prior to that position, she served as the assistant coach at the University of Illinois for two years. She spent a year as a personal trainer and aerobic instructor while volunteering as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma. She also served as a gymnastics coach and public relations assistant for the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Okla.

She had a three-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky -- her alma mater, from 1994-1997 -- where she was in charge of coaching, meet management and recruiting. While at Kentucky, she helped mentor Jenny Hansen, who was the NCAA all-around champion for three consecutive seasons.

In 1997, Sabin received her master’s degree in health promotion from Kentucky, where she was a varsity gymnast from 1989-94. She is married to Ray Sabin, who is a former Kent State wrestler. They have twin daughters, Molly Patricia and Olivia Hudd, who were born on June 24, 2007.

Craig Ballard
Assistant Coach

Craig Ballard is in his fifth season with the Kent State gymnastics team and the Golden Flashes continue to thrive since his arrival on campus.

Ballard, who served as the primary coach on vault and floor, while assisting on bars, saw three MAC Champions at the championships (Rebecca Osmer, Skyelee Lamano and Rachel Stypinski). Osmer win the Mid-American Conference title at the MAC Championships in Kent during the 2015 season, as the team won their 12th title. Ballard had Skyelee Lamano and Rachel Stypinski tie for first and the crown at the championships on the floor with a 9.900. Stypinski went on to the NCAA Regionals in Columbus, Ohio and tied for second with another 9.900.

Kent State experienced outstanding success in 2014 with posting back-to-back undefeated seasons, 2013-2014, in the Mid-American Conference as the regular season champions with a 6-0 conference dual meet record. The Flashes then earned their seventh straight NCAA regional appearance while sending one gymnast to the NCAA national championships to compete in the all-around.

Under his tutelage in 2014, Kent State was ranked 25th nationally on floor and 29th nationally on the vault. Three-time MAC Gymnast of the Year Marie Case was ranked 2nd on the floor exercises in the MAC and 23rd in the nation while Case was ranked 3rd in the MAC for the vault. Additionally, Marie Case tied for first on vault at the MAC Championships.

In 2013, Ballard led the Golden Flashes as the MAC's top-ranked team on vault and ranked 28th nationally on floor.  Marie Case and Kaitlin Isaacs were ranked 1-2, respectively, on floor in the MAC.  Additionally, Rachel Guida won the MAC individual title on bars and was named MAC Specialist of the Year.

In 2012, Ballard served as primary vault coach, while assisting on floor and bars.  Rachel Goldenberg was the top-ranked MAC vaulter during the regular season with Case the MAC's top performer on floor.  Goldenberg was named MAC Specialist of the Year, while Case won her first MAC Gymnast of the Year title. The Flashes were the 2012 MAC runners-up and finished the campaign ranked 26th nationally.

Prior to his arrival at Kent State, Ballard spent three seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Bowling Green. There, Ballard helped spearhead a turnaround that saw the Falcons go from last place in the Mid-American Conference to fourth and improve seven positions in the final national rankings. He tutored six gymnasts to NCAA Central Regional berths in three years.

Ballard spent the 2008 season as the assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Rhode Island, earning Eastern College Athletic Conference Assistant Coach of the Year honors as the Rams took second place at the conference championships.

Ballard got his start in collegiate coaching as a team manager/student coach at West Virginia, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies in 2006.

A native of Morgantown, W.V., Ballard and his wife, Allyson, have one son, Reed, and live in Stow, Ohio.

Follow Coach Ballard on Twitter @GymCoachCraig.