It breaks our hearts to share the passing of our beloved coach and dear friend to us all, Albert Avchian.

Coach Albert joined the SCATS family in 1997 after coaching our Head Coach Grigor Chalikyan at the Glendale YMCA as a young gymnast from 1991 to 1994. Albert traveled the world coaching some of the greatest gymnasts of all time, and among his many achievements, was hand selected as both the Soviet AND Mongolian National Team Coach. He would lead their elite athletes and those across the globe to great successes before making California and SCATS his eventual home. Here, he would guide our own gymnasts to a great many goals across his 23 years with us, and inspire not only our students, but all of us here– coaches, staff, and families alike.

Albert was many things to many people: a husband, brother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, teacher, role model, and friend. He had a truly resonating and gentle way of sharing both his love for those dearest to him, and for that of our sport of which he gave so much to during his more than 60 years dedicated to it.  His generations of gymnasts and their families, however, will tell you that his teaching and leading of athletes to victories and accolades was very much secondary to what the journey there with him amounted to: bringing out the greatest in you. Inspiring you to be passionate in both sport and in life. And inspiring you to lift up others the way that he always managed to do so effortlessly…simply by being the man he was.

Albert was such a tremendous part of the world around him.  His smile was subtle and reserved during nearly any task or conversation. To this, there were few exceptions, the most common of which here were when his students overcame adversity during training, or when he spoke of his family, sharing their photos and words. At those moments, his smile glowed like the sun, and it warmed you the same. His voice was deep and coarse, and it was reserved only for meaningful words. Whether they were strung together for a simple story about something from earlier that day, or one about a profound event 6 decades prior, they always had an invaluable effect on you, cradling a lesson for your own life if you were keen enough yourself only to hear it and apply it.  And while he was an incomparable teacher, these nor any of his lessons were ever a mere display of the incredible wisdom and experience he had acquired during his long life. They were always a candid and humble sharing of self.

We can only attempt to fill a small part of the void left by his passing with our beloved memories of Albert, and by carrying on as the people he was a part of shaping in one way or another with his presence, passion, knowledge, and wisdom that affected us all so positively.

We are forever blessed to have worked with you and to have learned from you, Coach. We speak for everyone who has encountered you here at SCATS and in our community of gymnastics in Southern California, and around the country and world, when we say that we deeply cherish our time with you and the fond memories it has given us. Rest easy Coach Albert, and as you would have said yourself: “fly handstand.”

Albert Avchian |  February 24, 1937 – October 10, 2020