2016 National Assistant Coach of the Year, Elisabeth Crandall-Howell is a distinguished international brevet-level judge, an internationally experienced gymnast, and a collegiate All-American. Coach Liz joined the Cal family as an assistant coach in September 2012 and was elevated to associate head coach in July 2014.
Since joining the Cal women’s gymnastics staff, Crandall-Howell has been integral in Cal’s stellar ascent through the national rankings. The Bears finished the 2012 season ranked 49thnationally shortly before Crandall-Howell joined the program, and finished ranked 16th this season. Cal’s 33-spot rise since 2012 marks the largest margin of improvement in NCAA gymnastics history, a feat only one other school has achieved (Maryland, 1997-99). Under her tutelage, Cal earned back-to-back NCAA Regional berths in 2013 and 2014, and this season the Bears sent individual gymnasts to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2003.
As associate head coach, Crandall-Howell works with all aspects of the Cal women’s gymnastics program, including fitness and nutrition, academic support and character development both in and out of the gym. Additionally, Crandall-Howell lends her expertise as an international brevet judge to help strengthen Cal’s routines across the board.
In her two seasons at Cal, Crandall-Howell’s leadership has been most evident on beam. After posting a 48.285 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on the event in 2012, Cal finished the past season with a 49.015 RQS and a 49.275 season-high on the event, which was also the program’s second highest beam score in program history. In 2014, the Bears broke the 49.0 mark on beam for the first time since 2008, and continued to break it, posting four team scores of 49.0 or better. The beam team combined for nine of Cal's 33 event titles.
Crandall-Howell also helped the team make similar gains on floor, where the Bears improved from a 48.330 RQS in 2012 to a 49.155 RQS and 49.300 high in 2014. The 2014 squad claimed five floor titles and posted five floor scores of 9.90 or higher. The team matched the program's fourth-highest (49.300) and fifth-highest (49.275) floor scores in program history.
Individually, Crandall-Howell has been crucial in the development of 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Serena Leong, helping her to the third-highest beam score (9.90) and second-highest floor score (9.925) in program history, feats less than 10 Cal gymnasts have been able to accomplish. Jessica Howe wrapped up her freshman season with four beam titles and set a career-high 9.90 on the event alongside Leong.
Prior to her time at Cal, Crandall-Howell coached at the collegiate and club levels and spent six years as a member of the U.S. national team after which she was a student-athlete at BYU.
Just one of 16 active international brevet judging officials in the U.S., Crandall-Howell has judged each of the last three Olympic trials - including the 2012 trials in San Jose. From 2001-09, she was an official for U.S. Championships, and from 2006-07, she was the U.S. Apparatus Chairperson for uneven bars.
A seven-time U.S. National Team member from 1987-92, Crandall-Howell boasts a multitude of domestic and international accolades, travelling to Japan, Russia, Belgium, and Germany to represent the US. Most notably in 1991, she took home a gold medal at the USA Championships on uneven bars. Further, she also finished fourth on vault and eighth in the all-around. She was also a member of the silver medal winning team at the 1991 World Championships. Additionally, she finished 11th in the all-around at the 1992 Olympic trials. She medaled at the 1988 U.S. Championships on uneven bars and floor exercise, taking second in the all-around.
A full athletic scholarship student-athlete at Brigham Young University, Crandall-Howell was a two-time first-team All-American on the uneven bars. She helped the Cougars qualify to three NCAA Championships from 1994-96 and qualified on the individual level in 1993. In three of her four years in Provo, Utah, Crandall-Howell was the NCAA Regional uneven bars champion. She graduated in 1997 with a degree in physical education and health promotion.
As the Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs) director and team coach at Airborne Gymnastics since 2007, Crandall-Howell directed and developed the USA TOPs program for the 6-11-year-olds, and coached four national TOPS team members and four Diamond National Team members. In her time with Airborne, she has had 13 Junior Olympic national qualifiers, 12 Western national qualifiers and coached over 20 athletes that went onto NCAA scholarships.
Crandall-Howell was also the lead Zumba instructor at the Rhythm Attic Dance Studio. She has also served as a choreographer for almost two decades. Crandall-Howell served as the head coach and team director of the International Gymnastics Centre from 2004-06, in which time it produced two Junior Olympic national qualifiers, three Western national qualifiers and two state level 10 all-around champions.
Crandall-Howell was the head coach and team director of Woodland Gymnastics from 1998-2003. During that time (2001-03), she also served as an assistant coach for the Sacramento State collegiate women's gymnastics team. She also served as a U.S. National Team mentor, guiding 2000 Olympic team member and UCLA All-American Kristen Maloney.
She is married to Justin Howell, and they have three children - Jacob, Noah and Greyson.