In 1975, Gail O'Donnell was selected to start the first gymnastics team at Harrisonburg High School. 14 girls responded to Coach O'Donnell's call and gymnastics at HHS was off to a running start.
Under Coach O'Donnell's leadership, this young team with only two seniors went undefeated during the regular season and advanced to the regionals where they finished third. The 1976 season brought another district championship and the first Blue Streak gymnast, Anne Bodkin Murphy (2015 Inductee) to qualify for the state meet. Coach O'Donnell led the gymnastics team for seven years before retiring in 1981. During those years the team won six district championships and a regional runner-up in 1980. In addition to the 1975 third-place finish Coach O'Donnell also coached several gymnasts who qualified who qualified as individuals for the state meet. In addition to Anne Bodkin Murphy, other state qualifiers included Abby Powell, Laurie Roller, and Nancy Shank Wayland (HOF 2010).
During her tenure, Coach O'Donnell also organized the Harrisonburg High School Invitational Meet that involved many leading teams from various areas of the state. Gail is a native of Brevard, North Carolina and graduated from Madison College (JMU) in 1960. At Madison she was a member of the Swim Club. After retiring from her teaching and coaching career in the Harrionsburg City Schools, Gail lives in Rockingham County with her husband, Danny. She is involved in civic and church activities including the Shenandoah Literacy Council and Eastgate Ministry.