Update: On March 9, 2022, Fisk University announced the hiring of Corrinne Tarver (Wright) as the inaugural head coach of the Fisk gymnastics program. Tarver was a former U.S. national team member, a nine-time All-American at the University of Georgia and the first Black NCAA All-Around Champion. Tarver will begin her duties as head coach on May 1st. 

6 Things To Know About Fisk Gymnastics

By Ashlee Buhler

There’s a new college gymnastics program in town! Here are six things to know about the latest collegiate gymnastics program at Fisk University! Stay tuned for the March/April issue of Inside Gymnastics for the full story! 

1. Fisk is the first HBCU to launch a gymnastics program

There are over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, however, none of them have a gymnastics program. That is until now! 

2. Fisk is governed by the NAIA, rather than the NCAA

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is a completely different governing body than the NCAA, typically made up of smaller, private schools, with less funding for sports. Noteworthy: Fisk is the first NAIA school with a gymnastics program! 

3. Fisk will compete during the 2023 season 

According to Fisk’s athletic director Dr. Larry Glover, the Fisk Bulldogs are aiming for five meets next season: Two at home in Henderson A. Johnson Arena, and three on the road. Although Fisk is an NAIA school, the gymnastics team will join an independent gymnastics conference (currently eyeing the Gymnastics East Conference) and will be able to compete against NCAA schools in every division during the regular season. At the end of the season, Fisk will be able to participate in the USAG Collegiate Championships. 

4. Did we mention Fisk is the first college gymnastics program in Tennessee?  

Fisk is breaking all kinds of ground! If you live near Nashville, get ready to support Fisk gymnastics in it’s inaugural season! 

 5. There is A LOT of interest! 

As soon as the news broke, Glover said his email was overwhelmed with interest from potential recruits. “I’ve been creating a list of names, sort of like a database, for the new coach. Some made commitments to other places but want to decommit and come to Fisk,” Glover said. 

Fisk will offer full academic scholarships, with supplemental partial athletic scholarships. 

6. Brown Girls Do Gymnastics was a huge advocate! 

Derrin Moore, founder of the organization Brown Girls Do Gymnastics, has played a pivotal role in launching the first ever HBCU gymnastics program. In 2020, Moore posted a petition on Change.org which has since garnered over 20,000+ signatures. Moore made contact with several HBCUs (including Grambling, Morgan State, North Carolina A&T, and Coppin State) and never gave up the fight, even when schools weren’t showing much interest. One day her campaign was brought to the attention of a trustee at Fisk University… The rest is history!

It still hasn’t completely hit me. This was like a huge group project that we finally got an A on. It feels good to know that we all did it! –Derrin Moore, founder of Brown Girls Do Gymnastics

Stay tuned for the March/April issue for a look into the launch of the first ever HBCU gymnastics program! Plus more of Moore’s story and what drove her advocacy efforts!

Photos courtesy of Fisk University Athletics

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