Westbank native D-D Breaux ends legendary run as LSU gymnastics coach

Staff Report

The retirement of LSU gymnastics coach Sara “D-D” Breaux not only meant the loss of LSU’s “Dean of Coaches," but also the end of a career for perhaps the most celebrated collegiate coach from the Westbank corridor.

Donaldsonville native Sara “D-D” Breaux announced last week she would retire after 43 years as LSU's gymnastics coach.

Breaux, who had the longest tenure of any coach in any sport with the Southeastern Conference, announced last week she would relinquish the job she held for 43 years.

“I’ve always told myself that I would know when it would be time to make this most difficult decision,” Breaux said. “This program was not built easily, but it is now in the most secure and positive position it has been since its inception. LSU Gymnastics is one of the best and most powerful programs in the country with, most importantly, the most incredible fan support.”

The Donaldsonville native helped build LSU’s program into one of the country’s premier teams, earning more than 800 wins. The Tigers have placed among the top-10 teams nationally 31 times in 43 seasons with program-best second place finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions.

LSU is the three-time defending Southeastern Conference champions, and Breaux's team won the inaugural SEC Championship title in 1981. Breaux’s gymnasts have combined to win 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles. 

Even with her long streak of success, Breaux never forgot her small-town roots. She spoke about her hometown of Donaldsonville when she delivered the keynote address at a community prayer breakfast the City of Plaquemine held on March 4 at the Carl F. Grant Civic Center.

Individual pride plays the biggest role in the growth and prosperity of a community, she said.

“Enthusiasm is the oil that greases the whole engine,” Breaux said. "Your work and what you do to make this community work is critically important to the gears that make this community work.”

“Excellence is a destination – it’s not just a trophy you put on yourself,” she said. “It’s a moving target, and you have to be constantly be moving toward your destination of excellence.”

The same high standard carried over to her athletes, both in and out of the gym.

LSU gymnasts have been named WCGA Scholastic All-Americans 160 times and won the Tiger Cup in 2013, 2014, and 2015, an award given to the LSU team with the most community service hours, the highest GPA and the highest national placement in postseason competition.

“Coach D-D Breaux set a standard of excellence for her athletes on and off of the mat and her 43-year career with LSU is unparalleled,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “On behalf of the state and of all of us who had the pleasure of witnessing her talented teams take to the floor on Friday nights in a packed PMAC, I thank her for her tenacity, for her commitment to her gymnasts and the University and for her leadership in prioritizing academics and community service alongside athletic achievement. Coach Breaux is truly a legend, and we wish her well in the future.”

Breaux will remain with the Tigers’ athletic department as an ambassador for LSU.