Sunday, August 16, 2015

1970 - The U.S.T.A. is Established

- Trampoline History -

By 1970, the sport of trampoline was experiencing a tremendous growth spurt in both numbers of participants and new private clubs opening up across the US. Although the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) remained the governing body for the sport; sponsoring annual national competitions and sanctioning athletes for international championships, it had limited involvement with youth programming.

Spurred by a recent decision made by the United States Gymnastics Federation (USGF) to exclude trampoline from sanctioned collegiate gymnastics competitions, George Nissen, on October 11, 1970, assembled a select group of thirty-three US trampoline and tumbling coaches. This group collaborated on the formation of a new organization. One that would support, develop and promote the sport of trampoline through age-group programming and competitions, while continuing to allow the AAU to remain the governing organization for the sport. 

Jeff Austin addressing attendees at the organizational meeting - 1970
Those attending the October organizational meeting represented an impressive list of “Who’s Who” from both the sports of trampoline and tumbling:  Jeff Austin of Triton College, former NCAA Trampoline and AAU Tumbling Champion…Nancy (Smith) Blegan, competitor in three trampoline championships...Bob Bollinger, tumbling and trampoline champion and well-known Rockford, Illinois private trampoline coach…Jon Bolton, former University of Iowa trampolinist and current coach at Glenbard School, Lombard, Illinois…Don Carney, former University of Iowa competitor…Jerry Clarke, trampoline coach from Springfield, Illinois…Ed Cole, former national collegiate trampoline champion…Milt Davis, current U.S. representative to the F.I.T.…Earle Duggan, Des Moines, trampoline coach…Larry Griswold, world famous professional trampoline performer…Dick Holzaeppel, University of Iowa gymnastics coach…Vito Lopin, Rockford, Illinois, diving coach…Wayne Miller, current trampoline champion...Ron Munn, former national AAU and Pan AM Games trampoline champion…Dave Ransom, Memphis, father of 1970 women’s world trampoline champion…and Vince Tracey, former Florida State University gymnast.

The founders adopted the name: United States Trampoline Association, and set out goals to foster improved competition for trampolinists throughout the United States, to establish safe and uniform standards for competition and provide sound lines of communication for coaches, judges and teachers.

The group then agreed to hold their first annual National Trampoline Clinic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 27-30, 1970. In addition, Temporary officers were appointed to serve until the first, formal organizational meeting to be held December 27, 1970 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Temporary Officers:
  • President: Jeff Austin, Gymnastics Coach, Triton College, River Grove, Ill.
  • Secretary: Milt Davis, US Chairman AAU Trampoline Committee, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Executive Director: Ron Munn, Ohio District Sales Manager, Nissen Corporation
Temporary officers: Milt Davis, Jeff Austin and Ron Munn - 1970
The United States Trampoline Association became a reality and was officially formed on December 27, 1970 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An important note to include was the impressive presentation made by Vern Dietrich, Geneva, Ohio arguing why the sport of tumbling should be included in the organization’s constitution. Vern’s impassioned points swayed the membership to agree, and tumbling was included; with the organization changing its name to the United States Trampoline & Tumbling Association.
Vern Dietrich, Geneva, Ohio, presents his arguments - 1970

The new association elected officers, agreed on a year-long schedule of competitions, certification courses for judges and instructors, a newsletter and the debut of the now well-recognized USTA logo-patch.
  • President - Jeff Austin, Coach at Triton, Illinois
  • Vice President - Newt Loken, Coach at University of Michigan
  • Sec-Treasurer - Ron Munn, Columbus, Ohio
Officers of the new U.S.T.A.: Vice-President - Newt Loken,
President - Jeff Austin, Sec-Treasurer - Ron Munn - 1970

Trampoline Track

Note: Later in 1971, the U.S.T.A. announced a change to the concept of the Griswold-Nissen Cup, designating it as an award given to an outstanding single clinic participant rather than serve as the generic name for the age-group competition held during the final days of the clinic. 

1971 - Jack Leonard is the first recipient of the Griswold-Nissen Cup
L-R: Larry Griswold, Paul Luxon and George Nissen
1972 Griswold-Nissen Cup
Page 2 - 1972 USTA Clinic:
World trampoline champions David Jacobs (photo on left) and Gary Erwin (photo on right) provide trampoline instruction at the clinic.
USTA Clinic coaches and participants - - 1973, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Photo courtesy Jim Bertz)

Link to Nissen News to read the special bulletin shared with employees of the Nissen Corporation.


  1. This is great. I have been puzzling over the history of the governing bodies for trampoline, and you have most of it right here, including dates. I am puzzled by the comment about the USGF excluding trampoline from collegiate competitions. As far as I know, USGF (Now USAG) was a separate entity, and had nothing to do with college competition (except that it was all the same coaches).

    The one thing I am missing in your series is the origins of the ATTA. I heard from a coach this weekend that the USTA is the older organization, and that the ATTA split off from it. Was this some sort of power-play, where some folks split away and aligned themselves with FIT as a governing body instead of AAU?

    If USAG (ca. 1970) was responsible for ending trampoline in the colleges, then having USTA beget ATTA which merged into USAG is interesting indeed.

    1. The USGF was the governing body for college competition. Their focus was to attain the international recognition of the FIG and the coaches felt that by dropping trampoline the USGF would be more aligned with the international competitive events of traditional gymnastic apparatus.

      I am not familiar with the ATTA. The AAU was a US organization that along with the USTA, were recognized by the FIT when it was established in Europe. So, your last statement confuses this issue... let me know if you need additional information or links. Thanks.

  2. Vito Lopin was my grandfather. I'm not sure exactly what his role in all this was

  3. I was usta region 6 national trampoline champion at 16 yrs old an am trying to find some info on the meet in Louisiana in I believe coach was phil reid whom later broke his neck at a practice.we practiced out of lake vista community center in st.pete , fla.

    1. Richard - - your best bet in finding out information on Phil Reid would be to post your question on Facebook; specifically in the groups: Trampoline Open Network and NCAA Men's Gymnastics Alumni. They are active groups whose members connect with many generations of coaches. Hope this is of help for you.


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