FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tom Farden, a former collegiate head coach and NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year, has joined the University of Arkansas gymnastics program as an assistant, co-head coaches Mark and René Cook announced on Thursday.
Farden spent the last six seasons as the head coach at Southeast Missouri State where he compiled a 70-46 record and guided the Redhawks to NCAA Regional appearances in 2006 and 2008. He coached 14 individual regional qualifiers, his teams won academic national championships each of the last three seasons with 70 total academic All-Americans and he helped raise $257,000 for facility upgrades.
He guided SEMO to a 14-3 record last year and its first Midwest Independent Conference championship in more than a decade. Farden was named MIC Coach of the Year for the fourth straight season while three student-athletes combined for seven all-conference awards.
The Redhawks reached as high as No. 25 in the national rankings and ended the season No. 36.
In the classroom, Southeast earned the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics coaches/Women National Academic Team Championship for the third straight year. SEMO recorded the top grade point average in the nation with a 3.9124 with all 17 student-athletes earning Scholastic All-America honors.
“We are excited to have Tom join our staff,” UA co-head coach René Cook says. “He has proven his technical and recruiting ability while building the program at Southeast Missouri. With the addition of his knowledge, energy and motivation, we feel confident we will continue to build on the success of our program.”
In 2008, Farden’s team reached the highest ranking for a Southeast squad in over a decade by reaching as high as No. 22 in the country and finishing fifth in the NCAA South Central Regional. The Redhawks finished 17-9 overall and 11-3 in the MIC while increasing their RQS on bars, beam, floor and overall team score.
The 17 wins marked the most wins for Southeast in over a decade. Nine Redhawks earned honors for first and second-team All-MIC, and Farden was named NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year.
In 2006, Farden took Southeast to the NCAA South Central Regional Championship in just his third season. SEMO was 9-12, but after competing at the NCAA Regional against Florida, UCLA, Arkansas, Illinois and Illinois-Chicago, the team’s national ranking was 35th, the highest final ranking in a decade.
In Farden’s first season as head coach (2004), the program had its first winning season (15-7) since 1998 and the best winning percentage (.682) since 1991. Southeast went undefeated at home, compiling a 5-0 record.
As head coach, Farden oversaw all aspects of the program, but primarily worked with recruiting, uneven bars and vault.
Farden, who is originally from Dayton, Minn., earned his bachelor’s from SEMO in recreation and was an assistant coach with the Redhawks from 1999-2003 before becoming head coach. He has also been the owner of Spectrum Training Center since 2002, worked as the team coach for TAGS Gymnastics and has been on the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women Ethics Committee since 2006.