West Virginia gymnastics, a program in the midst of its third decade, is housed in one of the finest practice facilities in the country: Cary Gymnasium, named in honor of the success and contributions of Bray and Dianne Cary.
Bray, President and CEO of West Virginia Media Holdings, LLC in Charleston, is a graduate of WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. His wife Dianne, also a WVU graduate, serves on the WVU Alumni Association Board of Directors. The Carys have endowed eight scholarships that are given annually to WVU student-athletes.
The $1.5 million gymnastics training center was designed exclusively for the use of Mountaineer gymnastics and features the latest in performance, technology and safety.
At 12,000-square feet, the facility is one of the most spacious in the country. But it is the gym’s exclusive design that makes it so functional and practical; all four events have their own landing areas and safety zones, which makes for much more productive and efficient practices.
Cary Gym’s list of equipment is impressive: seven competition-height balance beams, four low beams, one full-sized floor adjoined by a half-sized floor, three sets of bars, one single rail trainer (positioned over a loose foam pit), a trench bar trainer, two vaults with padded runways, a tumble track and a trampoline.
One of the biggest safety features is the positioning of its two loose foam pits. The first is exclusively for the use of vaulters, while the second, much larger pit is positioned so that gymnasts on bars, floor and the tumble track can use it simultaneously without the fear of a collision. The gym also features three foam resi pits adjoining each of the four practice areas.
In Cary Gym, gymnasts will also find a fully equipped training room with taping tables and a whirlpool. Next door in the locker room, each gymnast has her own spacious locker with an action shot of her in competition.
The WVU practice gym for the first 25 years was a tiny loft located in Stansbury Hall (where Jerry West and the Mountaineer basketball teams played until 1970).
Despite the challenging conditions, West Virginia won seven conference championships and appeared in 20-consecutive regionals and two national championships. When the funds became available, one of the first projects that was slated for construction was the new gymnastics building.
Cary Gym, nearly quadruple the size of the old practice loft, was part of Pastilong’s $10 million facilities commitment to seven varsity athletic programs and was completed between the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
In recent years, the WVU Coliseum, the Mountaineers’ competition facility, has undergone a vast face-lift. The 2009 season marked the debut of a new video board that is comparable to NBA arenas. Additionally, more lighting was added, as was a new sound system. These improvements provide the best-possible backdrop for the Mountaineers and enhance the entertainment-value for the team’s fans.