"I am beyond thrilled that Aja has accepted the volunteer assistant coach position at The University of Alabama," Duckworth said. "She loves this University with all of her heart and she is an extraordinary example to our recruits and current team in regards to the standard of academic and athletic excellence our program is known for. She will be an amazing asset to our ladies not only because of her positive attitude but her infectious personality and passion to achieve competitive greatness that fits with everything we stand for at Alabama."
Sims was a balance beam and floor exercise All-American during her collegiate career, helping lead the Crimson Tide to back-to-back Southeastern Conference titles and four-consecutive NCAA Super Six finishes. A four-year Scholastic All-American, she earned both President's (4.0 GPA) and Dean's (3.5 or better GPA) List honors throughout her career.
"I am so excited to be a part of the staff this year and have the opportunity to give back to a program that has given me so much," Sims said. "To be able to continue to be a part of Alabama Gymnastics' championship legacy is such an incredible honor. I love Tuscaloosa and having the opportunity to be a part of the Crimson Tide family every day."
The Orlando, Fla., native finished her career in 2017 and has gone on to work as a personal coach and trainer in gymnastics and dance. She also began a part-time career as a stuntwoman, working on the YouTube Red show "Step Up: High Water" as well as the movie "The Hate U Give." A December 2017 Alabama graduate with a degree in exercise science, Sims has also coached at a number of camps across the country.
"As a gymnast, Aja's work ethic, determination and showmanship were her signature and paramount to her success," Duckworth said. "Since graduation her life experiences have only increased her skills and everyone in the Tuscaloosa community that has been coached by her since she graduated speaks volumes of her technical talent and ability to make a difference."
Sims joins a Duckworth staff that also includes assistant coaches Bill Lorenz, entering his fifth year at the Capstone, and Ryan Roberts, in his first season with Alabama. Duckworth, a three-time NCAA champion as an Alabama gymnast and part of three NCAA championships as a UA coach, is entering her fifth season at the Crimson Tide's helm and 24th as a part of the program.