During his 41 years as the head coach of the Temple Owls Men’s Gymnastics Team, Fred Turoff produced 18 EIGL/ECAC title teams, 94 individual conference champions and 5 NCAA event champions. He retired as head coach after the 2017 season, and now serves as assistant to his former pupil, Jesse Kitzen-Abelson, who took over the head coach position in 2017-18. Fred started Philadelphia Boys’ Gymnastics in 2003 as Temple University Boys’ Gymnastics Team at Temple and moved the program to our current facility in 2015.
A native Philadelphian, Fred began his gymnastics career in the Philadelphia junior high public league and competed with the Mannettes and Philadelphia Turners. After his family moved to Connecticut, he became a two-time state high school all-around champion for Rippowam High School. As a member of Temple’s gymnastics teams from 1966-69, he was the EIGL all-around and horizontal bar champion in 1968. He earned the ECAC Scholar-Athlete Award in his senior season and graduated cum laude with a physics degree. In the next two years, he represented the United States at the 1969 Cup of the Americas, the 1969 Maccabiah Games, the 1970 World University Games and the 1970 World Championships. Temple’s highest athletic honor was presented to Fred in 1984, when he was inducted into the Temple University Hall of Fame. Fred’s international coaching activities began with the 1978 Golden Sands competition in Bulgaria. The next year, he was assistant coach of the World Championship team in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1991, he was assistant coach for the U.S. men’s team at the World University Games held in Sheffield, England, and the Pan American Games in Santiago de Cuba. In 1992, he was an assistant on the U.S. Olympic team. In November of 1993, Fred coached at the Nike International Invitational in Sydney, Australia. He was a member of the U.S. coaching staff for the 1994 Team World Championships in Dortmund, Germany, plus the 1995 American Cup and Visa Challenge. He was the coach of the 1996 Pacific Alliance Championships team that competed in Malaysia, and he coached the 1985 and 1997 Maccabiah teams in Israel.
Fred’s textbook, Artistic Gymnastics-A Comprehensive Guide to Performing and Teaching Skills for Beginners and Advanced Beginners, was released in April, 1991 by Wm. C. Brown Publishers and adopted by the U.S. Junior Boys’ program as its coaching manual. In previous writing endeavors, Fred co-authored a rules supplement governing boys’ gymnastics for 1977-80 and edited the 1981-84 rules. The current AACCA Cheerleading Safety Manual also contains a section he authored. He received the U.S. Gymnastics Federation’s Frank Cumiskey Award in 1980 for contributions to the boys’ Junior Olympic Program. He also received the Robert Stout Service Award in 1984 for his work in the Region Seven boys’ program. The National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches honored Fred with its Special Service Award after he served for two terms each as the association’s president and secretary-treasurer. He served eight years on the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Committee 1987-93 and 2008-10. Fred was voted NCAA Eastern Region Coach of the Year in 1981, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2013. In 2003, the College Gymnastics Association presented Fred with the Honor Coach Award, the highest honor given by the Association, which is composed of present and former collegiate gymnastics coaches. He served on the USAG Hall of Fame Selection Committee for 26 years and is a past president of the United States Elite Coaches Association for Men’s Gymnastics. Fred is a nationally and internationally certified judge. He served as delegation leader and judge for the USA-Italy men’s competition in Italy in 1982; he was delegation leader for the USA-Canada meet in May, 1990; he judged at the 1990 USA-DDR-Switzerland meet and the 1991 Pan American Games. In 1987-88, and again in 1991 he served on a committee to re-evaluate the international ratings of pommel horse skills and compose a new compulsory routine. He also contributed to the 1989 and 1993 international Code of Points. In 2009, 2010 and 2014 he was a member of the committee to pick US gymnasts to compete in the World Championships. In 2009, Fred was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as a coach, which is the highest honor a coach can receive from our national governing body. The World Acrobatic Society inducted him into its Gallery of Legends in 2015.
An avid scuba diver, Fred also enjoys underwater photography. He has an instructor’s license and has instructed SCUBA classes at Temple. Some of his photos can be seen in materials published by the National Association of Underwater Instructors. He completed his Master of Education in biomechanics in August, 1991, and is married to Diane Eigner, aka “the Cat Doctor.” The couple has one child, Evan, who graduated from The Ohio State University after competing for the Buckeyes (and Temple before that). Evan is now an assistant coach as well at the US Military Academy.