One of the architects of APU athletics, Kausrud, tragically died after pulmonary complications.
In the midst of what can only be described as treacherous circumstances for Azusa Pacific’s athletics, a member of the sports and campus community, coach Colleen Kausrud, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 29. Most known for being the head coach of APU’s acrobatics and tumbling team, APU’s Athletics Department announced Kausrud’s death was due to pulmonary-related complications.
Kausrud is recognized as one of the four women, along with Felecia Mulkey, Mary Ann Powers and Kristi Kiefer, who turned the acro and tumbling sport into a distinguished field of competition. She helped APU become one of the six founding schools for collegiate acrobatics and tumbling. And throughout her 10 years of coaching Azusa Pacific’s program, Kausrud furthered her beloved sport into one of the campus’ most influential and enjoyable pastimes.
“It was a dream that we all were a part of and got to put our little two cents worth in, and I think that part of it is just so fulfilling,” Kausrud said in an interview with the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association back in August of 2020. “You feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
The only head coach in the program’s history, Kausrud, brought her student athletes to the NCATA semifinals five times. In 2014, her team landed a second-place finish in the nation.
Yet her reach expanded much further than solely acro and tumbling. Originally, Kausrud was the cheerleading coach in 2005, turning that program into a competitive one as well. After five years in that role, she led the cheerleading team to an NCA National Championship before turning the program into the acrobatics and tumbling program we cherish today.
Athletic Director Gary Pine released a statement on the APU Athletic Department’s website.
“We are heartbroken by the sudden passing of Colleen. Our department has lost a loyal friend, outstanding coach and most importantly, a devoted woman of God. Her loss will be felt far beyond the Azusa Pacific community for she was an absolute joy.”
Those involved in the sport are also well aware of her influence. Therefore, multiple acro and tumbling collegiate programs around the country released statements of grief following the news of her passing, including the University of Oregon and Baylor University. The official NCATA website released a statement as well.
“Her student-athletes were at the center of everything she did,” said NCATA President Dr. Renee Baumgartner. “She was an incredible role model who demonstrated the lessons she taught her student athletes – lessons of strength, collaboration, and service to others.”
Whether it was in acrobatics and tumbling or cheerleading, Colleen Kausrud was a Cougar through and through. She was a hard-working individual, and without her, the APU Athletics Department would not be what it is today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Todd, her husband of almost 40 years, and their two daughters, Jen and Laurie, both APU alumni.
No details about Kausrud’s memorial have been released. For more information on her career at APU, click here.