The Texas Gymnastics Association’s highest award is the SPECIAL LIFE MEMBER AWARD. Nard Cazzell received the award in 1971 and is described by the group as “. . . one of the rich characters and great coaches who added so much to hundreds of trampoline and gymnastics championships over the years. Nard Cazzell was dedicated to the sport of gymnastics for over 40 years, yet with Nard, his athletes always came first.”
Nard is a lifetime member of USA Trampoline and Tumbling and was recently inducted into the World Acrobatics Society Gallery of Honor, (2002). He grew up in Amarillo and attended Texas A&M University where he was an Olympic hopeful in swimming and diving. After serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII, he coached the sport of Trampoline at the Maverick Boy’s Club in Amarillo. Not only did some of his students do well nationally on the trampoline, some also became champion divers. Nard Cazzell is credited as being instrumental in designing the first competition trampoline with George Nissen. In his over 40 years of teaching boys and girls trampoline and gymnastics, Cazzell holds the record for the most national champions trained by one coach. He was also one of the founding fathers of the U.S. association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs (USAIGC) in the 1970’s. Cazzell received the National Tumbling Coach of the Year and the national Trampoline Coach of the Year Awards, (1985). Once labeled a pioneer in the sport, Cazzell is considered a major factor in the acceptance of trampoline in the Olympics. He began coaching competitive trampoline in Amarillo, and produced 50 national champions in all three trampoline disciplines, (1980-’85). His impact on the many who learned from him and the development of trampolining in the U.S. and abroad strongly tells us that he was a man who changed life in the gym as well as productively changing life in the world for those in his charge as well as those who learned, were influenced, but never met him.
Sources: Thanks are due the Texas Gymnastics Association through their website , plus the courtesy of Jerry Wright’s photo and biographical information presented in his book Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005. Introduction, commentary, and formatting by Larry Banner, Web Manager.