Rudy Bachna, one of the true legends of Kent State sports, passed away on Saturday at the age of 93.

Along with his wife Janet and brother Joe, Bachna co-founded the Kent State men’s and women’s gymnastics teams in 1959 and coached both teams until 1978. He remained at the helm of the women’s program until 1991.

The Cleveland native earned both an undergraduate and graduate degree at Kent State, and would also teach at KSU as well as coach the Kent State men’s soccer team from 1963-72.

Bachna was inducted into the Kent State Varsity “K” Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

“Rudy Bachna spent his life giving to Kent State,” gymnastics coach Brice Biggin said in a university statement. “The amount of people that he touched and impacted and what he did for the sport of gymnastics is untouchable.”

Biggin competed under Bachna for the now-defunct Kent State men’s gymnastics team from 1980-83.

Biggin’s team held a moment of silence prior to its “Pink Meet” today before posting its highest score all season in a defeat of Central Michigan.

Owen is sports editor. Contact him at

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