Whitcomb and Mason Named Coaches of the Year

by
USSA
2017-05-03 09:48
 

PARK CITY, UT (May 3, 2017) – U.S. Cross Country Ski Team head women’s coach Matt Whitcomb and Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club’s Nichole Mason have been named 2017 International and Domestic Coach of the Year by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Whitcomb and Mason, along with 11 other domestic and international coaches, will be formally recognized at the Chairman’s Awards Dinner on May 11 during the annual USSA Congress in Park City.

Whitcomb, who will also be recognized as International Cross Country Coach of the Year, has played an integral role in the women’s World Cup success over the past few seasons. His athletes brought home three medals from the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and skied to seven World Cup podiums during the 2016-17 season.

“I am humbled to be selected for this award and am honored to represent the many factors behind our success,” said Whitcomb. “We’ve drawn a remarkable hand of athletes, graded not on talent but on courage. The strengths and weaknesses of every athlete on this team are played face up. They don’t pretend to be best friends. They focus on being best teammates who share a common goal. That vulnerability takes remarkable courage and is a factory for respect and getting results. Thank you to everyone that ever lifted a finger for our team.”

Since joining Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club three years ago, Mason has worked with many of AVSC’s upper-level athletes, including U.S. Snowboarding team member and World Cup winner Chris Corning. This season she was invited to coach at the FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships and bring home three medals. Mason is a level 300 certified coach, a member of USSA’s Snowboard Coach Education Committee and recently started leading Level 100 snowboard clinics.

“It’s a big honor to be recognized for the work we’ve done at Aspen,” said Mason. “I’ve watched other coaches win this award, taking note of what they did in order achieve their success. If you are a good person and you create a comfortable environment for your athletes, they are going to be able to put their best foot forward and be successful. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me through my journey, especially my family and Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club.”

Mike Day (U.S. Alpine Ski Team), Tony McAllister (U.S. Paralympic Team), Todd Ossian (U.S. Freestyle Ski Team), Peter O’Brien (U.S. Freeskiing), Bine Norcic (USA Nordic, and Mike Ramirez (U.S. Snowboarding) will also receive International Coach of the Year honors. Domestic Coach of the Year honorees include Mike Morin (Stratton Mountain School), Erik Leirfallom (National Ability Center), Bryan Fish (U.S. Cross Country Ski Team), Kate Blamey (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club), Jeremie Livingston (Winter Park), and Zac Hammill (Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage).

“All our domestic and international coaches play a key role in helping the USSA achieve our vision of being Best in the World,” said Jon Casson, USSA director of sport education. “Each of this year’s Coach of the Year winners has demonstrated their personal commitment to excellence and to executing their responsibilities effectively, creatively and passionately. Their individual wins and collective support of skiing and snowboarding is an asset to our entire organization.”

The USSA Coach of the Year awards recognize outstanding contributions by a coach to development and international programs resulting in high-level performance. Coaches of the year are recognized for their leadership, commitment, sport knowledge and passion, including proven ability to foster athletic excellence amongst their constituents or teams. Additional information on the USSA awards process can be found at ussa.org.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The USSA has recognized 14 international and domestic coaches for its 2017 Coach of the Year awards.
  • U.S. Cross Country Ski Team head women’s coach Matt Whitcomb has been awarded overall International Coach of the Year as well as Cross Country Coach of the Year.
  • Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club’s Nichole Mason has been awarded overall Domestic Coach of the Year as well as Snowboarding Coach of the Year.
  • International Coach of the Year recipients include Mike Day (U.S. Alpine Ski Team), Tony McAllister (U.S. Paralympic Team), Todd Ossian (U.S. Freestyle Ski Team), Peter O’Brien (U.S. Freeskiing) and Mike Ramirez (U.S. Snowboarding).
  • Domestic Coach of the Year recipients include Mike Morin (Stratton Mountain School), Erik Leirfallom (National Ability Center), Bryan Fish (U.S. Cross Country Ski Team), Kate Blamey (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club), Jeremie Livingston (Winter Park) and Zac Hammill (Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage).
  • All coaches will be formally recognized at the Chairman’s Awards Dinner on May 11 during the annual USSA Congress.

 

QUOTES

Matt Whitcomb, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team
I am humbled to be selected for this award and am honored to represent the many factors behind our success. We’ve drawn a remarkable hand of athletes, graded not on talent but on courage. The strengths and weaknesses of every athlete on this team are played face up. They don’t pretend to be best friends. They focus on being best teammates who share a common goal. That vulnerability takes remarkable courage and is a factory for respect and getting results. Thank you to everyone that ever lifted a finger for our team.

Nichole Mason, Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club
It’s a big honor to be recognized for the work we’ve done at Aspen. I’ve watched other coaches win this award, taking note of what they did in order achieve their success. If you are a good person and you create a comfortable environment for your athletes, they are going to be able to put their best foot forward and be successful. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me through my journey, especially my family and Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club.

Jon Casson, Director of Sport Education, USSA
All our domestic and international coaches play a key role in helping the USSA achieve our vision of being Best in the World. Each of this year’s Coach of the Year winners has demonstrated their personal commitment to excellence and to executing their responsibilities effectively, creatively and passionately. Their individual wins and collective support of skiing and snowboarding is an asset to our entire organization.

 

2017 COACH OF THE YEAR AWARDS

USSA International/Cross Country International Coach of the Year - Matt Whitcomb
Matt Whitcomb has played an integral role in the success of the U.S. women’s cross country team. Over the past three seasons, he’s helped the team land 17 World Cup podiums and five World Championship medals. Whitcomb has worked closely with USSA staff, sport committees and partners to ensure that the entire cross country team has a support system that reaches far beyond those on the side of the trails that has resulted in a strong team culture. This is his first time winning overall coach of the year and third time winning cross country coach of the year.

USSA Domestic/Snowboarding Domestic Coach of the Year - Nichole Mason
Nichole Mason is one of the few female coaches working at a high level within snowboarding.  She has an exceptional talent of cultivating athletes and helping them meet their goals. Mason is a level 300 certified coach, a member of USSA’s Snowboard Coach Education Committee and recently started leading Level 100 snowboard clinics.

Mike Day - Alpine International Coach of the Year
Mike Day’s work with Mikaela Shiffrin has resulted in Shiffrin becoming one of the best female skiers of all time. During the 2016-17 season, Shiffrin landed 14 World Cup podiums, her fourth slalom title and the overall title.

Mike Morin - Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year
Morin has been an instrumental part of the domestic race scene for the past 20 years, working with athletes from the grassroots to the World Cup. His work with the U16 athletes at Stratton Mountain School resulted in multiple athletes qualifying for the Seven Nations Cup and U16 Nationals. SMS alumna Alice Merryweather brought home the gold in downhill at the 2017 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships. A level 500 certified coach, Morin is involved on the Vermont Alpine Development committee, the Eastern Development Committee (former Chair), the National Development Committee (current chair) and is a member of the U16 and older working group.

Tony McAllister - Adaptive International Coach of the Year
McAllister brings years of experience in the sport and supports his athletes every minute of the day. Prior to joining the U.S. Paralympic Team in 2014, he worked with the men’s British alpine team and the British Paralympic ski team. Successes achieved by McAllister and his team this season include two men’s globes in super G and downhill, and five World Championship medals, including a men’s downhill gold.

Erik Leirfallom - Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year
In his first season at the National Ability Center in Park City, UT, Erik Leirfallom called on his own experience as the former IPC World Cup alpine race director to prepare his athletes for their future on the U.S. Paralympic Team. He was previously recognized as the USSA International Adaptive Coach of the Year in 2011.

Bryan Fish - Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year
Bryan Fish led an effort in 2016 to bring top junior cross country skiers to the Center of Excellence for testing and training that resulted in three of those athletes bringing home medals from the 2017 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships. It was the first time any U.S. skiers had won a medal. As team leader, Fish worked to ensure the highest level of service for all athletes at Junior Worlds. He also supports summer development camps to help prepare the next generation of cross country skiers.

Todd Ossian - Freestyle International Coach of the Year
Todd Ossian has brought the sport of aerials in the United States to a level not seen in 15-20 years. He redeveloped the aerials development pipeline and has helped the national team bring home two Nations Cups and two gold medals at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships. This is the second year in a row Ossian has won Freestyle International Coach of the Year.

Kate Blamey - Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year
As a women’s moguls coach for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Kate Blamey delivers an athlete-centric development program and has created an atmosphere of hard work and excellence. She has a strong understanding of skiing fundamentals – delivering high-quality programming that is very specific and detailed per each athlete.

Peter O’Brien - Freeskiing International Coach of the Year
Peter O’Brien has lead the U.S. Freeskiing rookie team to new heights. His athletes have landed multiple domestic and international podiums, including a World Cup win and two medals at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Junior World Ski Championships.

Jeremie Livingston - Freeskiing Domestic Coach of the Year
Jeremie Livingston has been a coach at Winter Park for over 10 years. He has helped build the program and coached athletes such as Birk and Svea Irving, who are both on the national team. He has helped coach at Junior Worlds and U.S. Freeskiing Project Gold Camps.

Bine Norcic - Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year
In his fourth year with USA Nordic, Bine Norcic continued to progress the success of the U.S. ski jumping team. Notable achievements from the 2016-17 season include a best-ever seventh place from Kevin Bickner at the Summer Grand Prix, a new U.S. jump record of 244.5 meters by Bickner and the qualification of four team members for the large hill event at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Bine continues to improve the culture of U.S. ski jumping and is raising the bar with regards to expectations. He is also at the forefront of technology and has brought in innovators to move the U.S. forward in the areas of suit design, sport science and ski and wax preparation. 

Zak Hammill - Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year
Zak Hammill has been the ski jumping coach for the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage for the last four years. During that time, the number of athletes has reached an all-time high of 70 junior jumpers. In addition to coaching, Hammill was integral in the construction project, which put plastic on all the hills and now allows for year-round ski jumping. As a result of these efforts, athletes have improved dramatically and Alaska qualified the first girl in Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage (NSAA) history for ski jumping junior nationals this year.

Mike Ramirez - Snowboarding International Coach of the Year
As the U.S. Snowboarding slopestyle coach, Mike Ramirez has created a cohesive and dominate team. His group of young athletes have all had success at the highest levels, including multiple World Cup podiums and X Games medals.