Gymnastics coach expects first child

Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 10:10 p.m.

Florida's second-ranked gymnastics team is just three days away from opening its 2008 season. But head coach Rhonda Faehn won't be in the team's practice studio today.

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UF coach Rhonda Faehn has her team ranked No. 2.

Sun file photo

Instead, Faehn will be in the hospital with her husband — UF men's tennis assistant coach, Jeremy Bayon — delivering the couple's first child. Faehn, 36, was due to have the baby Friday. The couple opted to induce labor today.

"It's kind of a timing issue," Faehn said on Monday. "Our first meet is Friday. We just wanted to speed things along a little bit."

Surprisingly, Faehn hasn't ruled out coaching the Gators on Friday against Illinois-Chicago in the O'Connell Center. However, those close to Faehn are hoping she spends Friday with her family. Florida associate athletics director and senior women's administrator Lynda Tealer is one of them.

"Lynda Tealer was telling me that if I was there, she is going to push me away and off the floor," Faehn said.

Should Faehn be unable to coach, assistants Adrian Burde and Robert Ladanyi and volunteer assistant Jeremy Miranda would step in and run the team.

Faehn, though, made it sound like she's prepared to coach her team Friday.

"It's hard for me to hear that I'm not going to be there because this is my life as well — coaching these athletes," Faehn said. "It's extremely difficult if I'm not able to be there.

I may be the one hardest hit if I'm not there."

Her gymnasts aren't worried.

"I'm sure we'll be fine without her," junior Corey Hartung said. "We'd love having her there, obviously. But without her, we'll be fine. It will be no big deal."

Faehn said she has been amazed at the level of interest her gymnasts have shown in her pregnancy.

"They are so curious," Faehn said. "They want to know everything about every appointment. They say, ‘Can I feel your stomach?’ And, ‘Can I see this?’ They are so excited. When I told them (Monday) I was going in (today) they just started jumping up and screaming. They are a part of it. I love it."

Hartung said the Gators gymnasts are surprised at how well Faehn has balanced her job and her role as a soon-to-be mother.

"She's ready to have her baby and she's still here every day, happy, in a good mood," Hartung said. "She's really been in a good mood. We love that she's here for us all the time."

That is something that likely won't change.

"I've just had to take it one day at a time," Faehn said. "It's no different than anything else. We're just getting ready for the season. I just made sure I took care of all the other things just to get it out of the way and not think about it."

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