West Virginia University gymnastics coach Jason Butts announced the elevation of coach Zaakira Muhammad to assistant head coach on Thursday.
A four-year letter-winner and NCAA All-American at WVU from 2015-18, Muhammad returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach in 2020.
“Zaakira has proven herself to be one of the best coaches in NCAA gymnastics, and this promotion is very well-deserved,” Butts said. “Her hard work and dedication have helped us make significant strides forward in every aspect of our program. (Associate head coach) Travis (Doak) and I are so proud of Zaakira and everything she’s already accomplished in her short time as a collegiate coach.”
A native of Pennsauken, New Jersey, Muhammad enters her third season with the Mountaineers in 2023, after helping the squad to a 13-5 overall record in 2022. She and Doak were named the Women’s College Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Region 6 Co-Assistant Coaches of the Year at the season’s end.
Muhammad helped the Mountaineers rank inside the top 25 of the Road to Nationals Rankings on floor exercise every week during the regular season last year. The lineup debuted in the rankings at No. 4 on Jan. 17, marking the team’s highest since at least 1998 in the Road to Nationals rankings. The last time the Mountaineers appeared inside the organization’s top-10 was in the final rankings of the 2001 regular season when the squad was ranked No. 8 nationally on floor.
She also coached the team to a third-place finish at the 2022 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship, the squad’s highest finish at the conference meet since 2017. West Virginia’s season-high of 196.650 at the Big 12 Championship marked its highest team score since 2018, as well as a program-best total at the conference championship.