Memories of Tim Rand

I am so blessed to be among the many Tim Rand has inspired. He has touched so many lives. I just find it so hard to believe only 2 months ago he was sitting in my living room in Austin, Texas. He came to do a gymnastics clinic at my daughters gym. I absolutely loved hearing stories about his lovely wife, incredible grandson and his daughter’s upcoming wedding. My prayers are with his family. I was one of the tumblebees..and want to thank Tim for being apart of my life.

Janeen Coco Zehe – Riesel, TX

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Coach, teacher, mentor, friend…what a difference one person can make in the lives of so many! Tim Rand was an influence in my life that can’t be explained in words, but can be carried on by all of us who loved him! Looking back at my saved ‘notebooks’ of charts and journals, I still laugh and cry over his chicken scratch words filled with encouragement, critique, and passion for the sport and each of us individually. I will take his gems and pass them on to my boys as they pursue their dreams in athletics and all that life has to offer. We Tumblebees were given a gift when he spent his days in the warehouse giving all he had to a bunch of little girls and boys. He will not be forgotten by this PK! Can’t wait to see you again-I’ll be doing flip-flops down the golden streets 🙂

Barbi Callahan Burris – Little Rock, AR

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God bless Tim Rand. He touched so many lives. 30 years later, I can still recall all the special memories from “THE GYM,” (tumblebees and stingers in a hot warehouse off powerline road!) and most include Tim Rand as if these vivid memories occurred only just yesterday. Tim in his rainbow suspenders! Tim use to say “Rich” “If I could only put you in a leotard.” While virtually everyone phased out gymnastics and went on to accomplish various goals, Tim never wavered from his dedication to the sport and his gymnasts. A life devoted to young childrens’ dreams of gold and in doing so, Tim gave so many, like me, golden memories. Tim, God Bless and Rest in Peace.

Richard Landman – Fort Lauderdale, FL

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I can’t believe Tim is gone. Last November I emailed him out of the blue and immediately received a warm and sincere reply. I truly believe Tim changed the course of my life in the best way possible. The Gym and the Tumblebees were my home as a teenager. Tim will always be part of who I am. He was a great coach and a good man.

Jackie Hytha Laiti – Falls Church, VA

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I found out today about the death of Tim. What a shock! I have not seen Tim in over 25 years. I trained with him at “The Gym” in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with Earl & Sue and Pam & Al. Oh, what happy memories I have. I went through the split up of these fine people. I’ve been thinking a lot about my old coaches in recent months as I’ve been hunting for a good gym for my 8 year old son. Wishing I could only find coaches like I had. Tim pushed for greatness. I can remember training during the hot summer month’s without air conditioning a full day and the last half hour having Tim push us harder during “conditioning.” I believe to this day this is the reason I am such a disciplined person. I am saddened for the loss of such a wonderful man and my prayers are with him and his family. Rosemarie (Grieco) Davidson.

Rosemarie Grieco Davidson – Old Bethpage, NY

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I learned of Tim’s Passing yesterday AM. I was one of the Tumblebees at “The Gym”. I remember the motorcycle and the rainbow suspenders ,’flex class’ and a whole bunch of incredible times. I was one of the lucky people to have been hired by Tim and Toni and work under them at American Twisters in Pompano and Boca. Tim had (and still has) a huge impact on my life. I never respected a person as much as Tim and what he stood for. I am a better person for having him in my life. Toni and Family~ My heart and love goes out to you all~ I wish I could be there, I am in TN. My Mother is going for me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part in your lives. Blessings~Tracie

Tracie Tomasino Taylor

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I attended Tim’s memorial service yesterday. I still can’t believe he is gone. While listening to the many speakers, so many wonderful memories and feelings came flooding back. I was a member of the original Tumblebees team. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were in that old warehouse with no AC, sweating through his flex class. I can see Tim’s energetic face, so excited to teach us something new. Let’s not forget those crazy conditioning circuits and running outside in the heat of the summer with no shoes. I believe this made each of us not just physically stronger but mentally stronger as well. What an amazing person! Your dedication to gymnastics and your unwavering love and support for each and every one of your gymnasts was truly evident by all who attended your service. I am so glad that I got to tell you a couple of years ago what an impact you had on my life. I truly believe that I am the person I am today because of you. My deepest sympathies to Toni and his family. He will be forever loved.~ Sonja

Sonja Medina Rodriguez – Key Biscayne, FL

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I have so many memories of my friendship with Tim having known him for over 30 years and being a roommate and housemate of his for almost five years. We met at Duke University where we lived in the same apartment complex.

I always try to take credit for Tim’s coaching career. After Duke, I started a program and team (Durham Dynasty Gymnastics) in a brand new rec center in Durham, N.C. Tim was planning a motorcycle major odyssey and adventure around the country after Duke. He worked at the gym for a few weeks with me and I tried my hardest to convince him to stay and coach with me instead of touring the country to no avail. He rode off on his bike to see the country. Two days later he was back having realized his gymnastics destiny.

When the gym program in Durham closed down for us (it got too big and successful for a rec center), Tim went home to Florida. In a few weeks he was back with a job offer for me at the gym he had just been hired at – The Gym, Inc. His proviso for working there included hiring me and giving us time to tour all of the best gyms in the country before we started work. We checked out the best gyms and programs from Florida to Eugene, Oregon and Southern California. Afterwards, we knew what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.

We started coaching at The Gym, Inc. and the Tumblebees became one of the best and strongest team training programs (both in terms of competition success and in success in training athletes for life) in the time before the break-up of the gym.

Tim and I had similar gym philosophies, lifestyles and an intense passion for gymnastics. We also had years of memories together both in and out of the gym.

We both reached the time in our lives when we wanted to run programs of our own. We both started our own gyms, albeit from different circumstances.

Tim’s accomplishments speak for themselves, but with him it was often the small daily interactions that were the most memorable.

Tim had a way with young gymnasts. He could coach them and reach them and make them better than they had ever thought themselves to be.

He had a habit of making up nicknames for gymnasts and rarely called any gymnast by their given name – Oscar Meyer, Coconut, Poindexter and the Hulk to name a few. The more outrageous the nickname, the more the gymnasts seemed to love it.

Tim and I shared a passion for motorcycles and speed. Our motorcycle riding on I-95 led us to be given the nicknames of Starbuck and Apollo from the spaceship star fighters starring on the then popular TV show, Battlestar Galactica.

At The Gym, Inc., Tim would not hesitate to throw the occasional gymnastics skill himself and had a really hilarious beam routine he would perform at shows in the gym from time to time.

With the split school sessions in Florida at the time, we coached three sessions of team training with the Tumblebees – morning, afternoon and evening. Many gymnasts did two sessions a day. With little free time, Tim and I would often leave the gym after 9:00 p.m. or later and head to workout, lift weights and hit the sauna and whirlpool at the health club.

While coaching at The Gym, Inc. we lived with Pam and Al on the Intercoastal Canal in Ft. Lauderdale, the source location of many a party and launch of an adventure.
We also continued our habits from Durham and spent many a night watching gymnastics videos, often playing them first forwards and then backwards to see if we could come with an idea for a new skill. We also spent time making up bar routines and I still have pages of Tim’s patented chicken scratch writing style filled with present and future bar routines.

We were not always the source of new skills. Janeen Coco developed her own bar dismount that we could never convince any other gymnast to even try. Tim called me over to help spot Janeen on a back sole circle, double back off the high bar dismount (which was legal at the time). Janeen came up short on the back sole circle and jumped down and punced off the low bar, did a barani and hopped right back up on the bars. Tim and I picked ourselves up from where we had dived trying to spot and keep Janeen from hitting the low bar. Tim looked at me and then at Janeen and asked her if she could do that again. She could and did and eventually did a rudi off the low bar – a skill which caused not a few judges to drop their pencils in amazement and shock.

At the time, Tim coached mostly bars and I coached vault, but we both loved to coach beam and spot tumbling on floor. I still have never seen another gymnastic team doing criss-cross tumbling on floor with two coaches spotting almost 70 girls on the team on double backs like we used to do.

We used to have a friendly competition to see who would have the higher meet scores on our respective events. With vault being a much simpler event to coach, I would often win but only by a few tenths. Tim was well known for his innovative and original bar coaching. Even so, at the time, we had more girls doing Tzukahara vaults than all the rest of the gyms in the state combined.

We also used to have informal competitions running warm-ups taking turns coming up with harder and harder warm-up exercises for the gymnasts to do. Our “warm-ups” then often lasted 45 minutes or more and combined intense stretching, conditioning and learning of new skills. It was not uncommon for new and visiting gymnasts to leave practice because they were not used to the intensity level and amount of work in our warm-up sessions. They would often say they had never worked that hard in a whole practice as we did in “warm-ups.”

There were so many gymnast stories Tim and I used to reminisce about. Joanie Nesselroth did the best and highest Tzukahara we had ever seen. We used to have to pull the then 12 foot long vault mat about five feet away from the horse leaving bare concrete visible so Wendy would not fly over the mat with her 14 foot long handspring vault. Janeen Coco asked us what an aerial cartwheel was one day and 10 minutes later she was doing it on the low beam and then on the high beam. Who would think that winding up their pigtails would help you make Eastern National finals in vault. Who else had a gymnast who could do alternate fulls twisting left on one and right on the other? Too bad the judges would never notice that. Who would ever think that a beautiful coach from another team flirting with me at Eastern Nationals would have been put up to it by girls from my own team who were sitting right behind us taking it all in? Good one, girls. Remember all the Fridays tumbling and doing mini-tramp at the beach.

I know I am by far not the only one to mourn Tim’s leaving us so early. I am only one among many who are better for my long friendship with Tim and who have a part of him with me every day, especially in the gym. It is certain that the early days of coaching with Tim in Durham and with the original Tumblebees were among the best days of my life. My thanks and eternal respect to him for all he gave to others and the sport of gymnastics.

As sad as this event is, it has rekindled many fond memories of old times and those most special gymnasts we worked with. I miss him and them. My thoughts are with all of you and Toni and Alyssa and Serena.

The best to all of you,

John – GymnasticsInc@msn.com

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An era has truly come to an end. Like so many above I was a “Tumblebee” and have such fond memories of “the gym” and my family there. I just left the service for Tim and I must say that the memories came flooding back. Though there were many gymnasts there from many different years and different gyms we all had one thing in common and that was our love, admiration and great respect for Tim. For those of you who knew me as a gymnast you know I tended to be a little chicken at times. I remember one such occasion when Tim made me get on the beam and made me stay there until I would do a back handspring ( I mean CHICKEN). I remember standing up on the beam for hours crying. The day ended and I still hadn’t done it and I went home thinking the torture was over. The next day I came in and we were warming up and Tim said, “Mycki, to the beam.” He would not let me quit on myself or succumb to my fear. Those lessons he taught me followed me through my life. He taught me to never quit, to never give up and to “go for it” (remember “chuck it”) in life. I am the women, mother, wife, lawyer, friend and human I am today because of Tim Rand. THANK YOU FOR THE MANY GIFTS YOU GAVE ME.
Janeen and Barbie- Hey girlfriends! Lets do a Tumblebees reunion for sure. You all are always in my thoughts.

Much Love-Mycki

Mycki Kirn Ratzan – Miami, FL

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I was so sad to hear of Tim’s passing. I was a gymnast at “The Gym” when I was about 5 years old. I still remember the day Tim came in as our new coach with a broken arm. He was always so much fun! I remember that he called me “foxy” and I went home and asked my parents what that meant. They told me that it meant “pretty”. I still remember that 33 years later. Tim was always so great a building our self-esteem. I left “The Gym” when Earl and Al split up and went to ISG but would always see Tim at the meets. He still always said words of encouragement. Tim built an incredible legacy and touched so many lives. I hope that one day I will be able to touch even half as many lives as he did. Tim will be missed by so many.

With love,

Rachel Refenning Gershowitz

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It is no surprise Tim passed of a massive heart attack. He put his heart and soul into everything he did. There were many occasions he was more of a father to me than my own had been. For me, his care, concern, and passion reached far past just being a gymnastics coach. He took the time to truly be a friend and mentor. He recognized moments of ‘growing pains’ and wasn’t afraid to reach out and talk me through them. I remember comments of ‘playing favorites’… what many didn’t understand at the time was there was nothing more or less special about me. It was Tim who was the special one. He reached past his work and recognized the signs of a troubled child. He took the time necessary to show me a better path. He demanded success and wasn’t willing to let you think any less of yourself. For that I will be eternally grateful. I know in my heart of hearts I would not be where I am today had it not been for Tim. It was never just about gymnastics to him. He loved each and every one of us and truly wanted us to succeed! How many can remember him asking how we were doing in school? Pushing us to succeed in all areas, not just athletics. He was an amazing soul who has left his mark in so many of our lives. Not just in the years we were growing up, but in our own behavior and expectations of our children. I feel blessed to have been touched by his kindness and spirit.

My deepest sympathies go out to Toni and his immediate family. May your memories of him live on and help you reach past this sad time of transition.

All my love ~ Sandy

Sandy Stengel Frederick – Fort Lauderdale, FL

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When I heard about Tim’s death I was heartbroken. Most of my childhood memories were spent with Tim. Tim was like a second father to me for many many years. I trained with Tim when he owned Tumblebees and American Twisters. I was only 6 years old when Tim asked me to come train with him. I left Tim at the age of 17 when I went off to college. I am now 30 years old. Tim and I didn’t keep in touch after I left for college, but I will miss him dearly and never forget all the wonderful memories I shared with him.

“Tim, I am all grown up now, married, and have a 3-month-old baby girl. You would be so proud of the woman I turned out to be. I will miss you with all my heart. Take care of yourself up there”.. Hugs and Kisses… JOJO

Jodi -Barnes- Hlasny

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When I found out about Tim’s passing, it was like I lost a piece of my childhood. Tim was my coach at Tumblebees and then Twisters. He was my coach for over 10 years. You never realize how much of an impact someone has on your life until they’re gone. I attended his memorial service today and it makes me so sad to see that it took a tragic situation to happen to bring us all back together. Tim would of loved to see his girls come together more often. Tim, you saw something in me that other coaches never did. No matter how many times I left, you always took me back with open arms. I never had the chance to tell you what an impact you have made on my life. Thank you for everything. We love you..

Jaime Graziano

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If I could have had one more chance to see you I would tell you how much I love you and that you meant the world to me. Tim you helped raised me into the woman I am today. I know you are not far away because I feel you in my heart. I will carry you along through all my journeys that life has in store for me. When you feel its necessary to push me a little harder I know you will not hesitate to show me the way. I will dream of our many memories together and will look forward to seeing you again. Say hi to my sister and give her a kiss for me.

PS Thanks for never giving up on me.

Sivan Danon

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Words cannot describe the sadness and loss I felt when I heard the news that Tim passed away over the weekend. He was such an amazing person who touched to many lives. I have known Tim since I was six years old. He coached me when I was a Tumblebee at The Gym and then when I was at American Twisters. Tim had a large part in making me the person I am today. He attended one of my last competitions my senior year at the University of Florida. It just so happened that he was there to watch me get my first 10.0 ever. I remember him giving me a big hug and telling me that he was so proud of me. Tim will be greatly missed by so many people nationwide. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Kristen Guise Lee

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I am extremely saddened by the loss of Tim. Although he was never my coach, I have known him since I was 10 and competed in my first meet at The Gym. (Circa 1977) Like Richard, I have fond memories of the rainbow suspenders. He was never short on enthusiasm and support for me even when I was competing against his girls. He always had and encouraging word. Frequently, I would run into him at the mall or around town and he would stop and talk with me about old times but would always jump forward to the present to tell me how proud he was to be a grandfather and father. God Bless you Tim. You were one of a kind!!! We love you!!

Leigh Weatherly Craig

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Words can not describe how sad I am about Tim’s death. I was also a gymnast who trained with Tim at Tumblebees and American Twisters. Tim was tough, but I always respected him and looked up to him. If Tim was your coach, you became part of a special family. I am still involved with gymnastics and have always been so proud to tell people that I trained at American Twisters. When I told people I trained there, they would often say “Oh, you’re one of Tim’s kids.” And even as an adult, I am proud to have been one of “Tim’s kids”. My prayers go out to Toni and his family. Tim made a huge impact on my life and greatly contributed to making me the person I am today. He will always have a special place in my heart, and will be greatly missed.

Trisha Kellum Smith

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Our car pool group, Amanda Winchip, Kathleen Harowitz, Gianna Firmani & Jillian Morabito were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to train under Tim Rand at Twisters. When we decided to make the daily 2 hour drive, Tim was amazed with their commitment. The girls knew that in order to get the best training it would have to be at American Twisters with Tim Rand. They learned a lot, trained hard, made many great friends, and had some wonderful experiences. None of which will ever be forgotten. We can’t say thank you enough to Tim and the staff at Twisters. You will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go to Toni and his family.

Nicole Winchip

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It is hard to describe how I felt after finding out about Tim’s death. This is a man who I spent more time with in my childhood than my own parents. He made a huge impact on my life and I will never forget him. Tim taught me so much more than just gymnastics. My prayers go out to Toni and his family. Love,

Trisha Kellum Smith

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I came home from a business trip and I got the horrible call that Tim had passed. I thought I would have had a chance to see him one more time but I didn’t get that option. It is so strange to look back but here I go…I started gymnastics when I was 5 years old and trained under Tim Rand (Tumblebees) when he was now I realize so young. I was with him for 13 years and he was like a second father to me. I have always had a special spot in my heart for him. I pray for his family and will miss him dearly. Cheers to one of the most passionate men I know. w/ all my love,

Dawn Ballard

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Our hearts go out to Toni and the girls – we knew Tim for so many years as our daughter trained under Tim “back in the old days (when we were all young) and life revolved around Tim/Toni, the gym and meets. Tim was a rare person who went out of his way for the kids – and we were always grateful for his help in getting Pam a gymnastic scholarship to Pitt – for supporting and helping develop her choreography talents when home on vacation with the kids coming up at Twisters … and for his unwavering support and strong goals he instilled in the kids under his care! He ruled with a strong hand – and a heart of gold… and will forever be a great role model for coaches to follow.

Tim… you were way to young to leave … but you will live on in many peoples hearts and memories… more than even you knew!

The Lieberman Family

Bob, Jessi, Pamela, Randi and Eric Lieberman

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It was like I had lost a huge piece of my childhood after learning of the passing of Tim Rand. The countless hours spent training under him since the age of six will always be treasured.

Jenny Statfeld

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I found out today about Tim’s passing. I trained at Brown’s Gymnastics in Orlando, FL and was part of the Region 8 Level 10 National’s gymnastics team for many years. Tim was a firm coach, but always had a way of making you crack a smile. I remember attending Region 8 training camp at Twister’s. Tim always had a way of making every gymnast feel like family. I am privileged to say that I had a chance to meet him and train with him. He was one of a kind and a good-hearted man. A coach, such as Tim, is very hard to find. I considered myself one lucky girl to have worked with him. He will be missed by the entire gymnastics community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family! His smile will live on.

Jennifer Baldridge – Altamonte Springs, FL

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My dad called me today about Tim’s passing. I started at The Gym with the Tumblebees when I was 7 and stayed with Tim as my coach until I graduated at 17 and then through summers of college gymnastics. He was a tough coach, but because I respected him, I would listen and always try my best. In those years Tim not only taught me about gymnastics but about the values of dedication, desire, and hard work. He watched me grow up and helped me become who I am today. I will miss him dearly!

Julie Heilman Dixon – Stevensville, MD

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As I have lost my greatest mentor – gymnastics has lost an incredibly talented coach, a generous educator and a shaper of lives. I know for a fact that I would be nowhere close to the coach or gym club owner that I am today without Tim’s guidance and influence. I am now just glad I had a chance to thank him when he retired from coaching.

Brad Harris

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