COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) announced today the recipients of its 2008 Coach of the Year awards. This year's winners are: National Coach of the Year Hugh McCutcheon (Volleyball/Irvine, Calif.; Christchurch, New Zealand); Developmental Coach of the Year Rajul Sheth (Table Tennis/Milpitas, Calif.); Volunteer Coach of the Year Rita Gladstone (Tennis/Port Orange, Fla.); Paralympic Coach of the Year Ken Armbruster (Paralympic Goalball/Colorado Springs, Colo.); and Dave Bennett (Wrestling/Coaldale, Colo.) as the "Doc" Counsilman Science Award honoree.
The 2008 recipients will be presented with their awards on June 13 during a luncheon at the 2009 National Coaching Educators' Conference in Pittsburgh. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Station Square and hosted by West Virginia University's Athletic Coaching Education Department.
Paralympic Coach of the Year Ken Armbruster, Paralympic Goalball
Armbruster guided the U.S. Women's Paralympic Goalball team to the gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, including a 4-3 overtime victory versus China in the final. Armbruster has served as head coach of the U.S. Paralympics Women's Goalball National Team since 1996. His teams have won gold (2008), silver (2004) and bronze (1996) Paralympic medals, the 2002 World Championship and three Parapan American gold medals. An Air Force veteran, Armbruster also coaches the Colorado Bandits women's goalball team, the current and seven-time national champions. His daughter, Jennifer, is a five-time Paralympian in the sport of goalball and was captain of the team in Beijing.
National Coach of the Year Hugh McCutcheon, Volleyball
As head coach of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Men's Volleyball Team, McCutcheon guided the squad to the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing - the first gold medal for the team since 1988. Although hit by personal tragedy shortly after his arrival in China and missing the team's first three matches, McCutcheon returned to guide Team USA undefeated through the Olympic tournament. The team posted an 8-0 record, defeating Venezuela, Italy, No. 4-ranked Bulgaria, China, Japan, No. 5 Serbia, No. 2 Russia, and No. 1 Brazil in the gold medal match. McCutcheon led the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team to a 29-5 overall record in 2008, which included its first FIVB World League title. He accepted the U.S. Women's National Team head coach position in December 2008.
Developmental Coach of the Year Rajul Sheth, Table Tennis
Sheth currently serves as Director of Sports & Recreation at India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif. - the largest full-time table tennis facility in North America. A former Indian national-level player, Sheth coached several U.S. national champions and finalists last year, including Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang who represented the United States at the 2009 World Table Tennis Championships. He also runs three weekly USATT singles leagues, and he conducts an active junior program with more than 100 kids.
Volunteer Coach of the Year Rita Gladstone, Tennis
More than 550 children, ages 5-17 and ranging from beginner to tournament level, participated in USTA Junior Tennis Team programs in Volusia County, Fla., last year - programs guided by Gladstone. She has served as Area League Coordinator for the county's programs since 2003, teaching professionals, parents and all levels of players. In 2008, she worked with more than 100 new tennis players, coached three junior wheelchair tennis players and coached six players with sectional rankings. Along with her husband and fellow coach, Andy, and their children, Gladstone was named USTA Florida Tennis Family of the Year in 2008. She regularly visits elementary and middle schools to teach tennis and promote health and wellness, and she organizes free youth tennis jamborees.
"Doc" Counsilman Science Award Honoree Dave Bennett, Wrestling
The "Doc" Counsilman Award recognizes a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and equipment as an integral part of his or her coaching methods, or who has created innovative ways to use sport science. Bennett, who served as both National Freestyle Developmental Coach and Director of Broadcasting for USA Wrestling, has spearheaded numerous technology-driven projects to improve performance. He developed an online presence for many coaching tools, including international scouting video, a searchable database of competition video, a database of techniques among competitors, coach game plans, and video available for download and viewing on an iPod. He also created a website to assist in the education and training of referees. Bennett has been involved with wrestling for more than 50 years as an athlete, coach, administrator and innovator, including serving as a coach at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. He retired from USA Wrestling in January 2009.
U.S. Olympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2008 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. The winners in each category were chosen by a panel of coaching and sport education professionals.
The USOC Coach of the Year award was initiated in 1996. The program was developed using the philosophy that, to succeed in Olympic sport, athletes must strive for excellence almost from the moment they begin to compete. At every stage of their careers, coaches empower athletes to rise to the next competitive level of sport. If coaches do their job well, their athletes will ultimately receive the highest accolades for their achievements and become better human beings along the way. The USOC Coaching Committee developed the criteria for each Olympic sports organization to follow in selecting a Coach of the Year in both the elite and developmental categories. The volunteer category was added in 2003. All-time recipients:
USOC NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
1996 Tara VanDerveer, U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Coach
1997 Frank Carroll, Olympic Figure Skating Coach, Coach of Michelle Kwan
1998 Ben Smith, U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Coach
1999 Chris Carmichael, Cycling Coach, Coach of Lance Armstrong
2000 Richard Quick, U.S. Olympic Women's Swimming Coach
2001/02 Pete del'Giudice, U.S. National Freestyle Team Coach (Snowboard)
2003 Lloyd Woodhouse, USA Shooting National Team Coach
2004 Mike Candrea, USA Softball Women's National Team Coach
2005 Eddie Reese, USA Swimming Men's National Team Coach
2006 Bud Keene, U.S. Ski & Snowboard National Team Coach
2007 Guy Baker, USA Water Polo National Team Coach
2008 Hugh McCutcheon, USA Men's Volleyball National Team Coach
USOC DEVELOPMENTAL COACH OF THE YEAR
1996 Jeff Shaffer, University of Southern California
1997 Dianne Holum, Speedskating
1998 Mike Stafford, Millvale Golden Gloves Gym (Cincinnati)
1999 Tom Healy, Northbrook (Ill.) Speedskating Club
2000 Fred Zimny, Luge (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
2001/02 Mike Eaves, U.S. National Under-18 Hockey Team
2003 Bob Fraley, Fresno State (Calif.) University Track & Field
2004 Dwayne Miller, Norfolk (Va.) Real Deal Track Club
2005 Tammy Gambill, U.S. Figure Skating
2006 Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson, U.S. Figure Skating
2007 Paul Yetter, USA Swimming
2008 Rajul Sheth, Table Tennis (Milpitas, Calif.)
USOC PARALYMPIC COACH OF THE YEAR
2004 Mike Hulett, USA Women's Sitting Volleyball Team Coach
2005 Randi Smith, U.S. Paralympic Archery Team Head Coach
2006 Julie O'Neill, U.S. Paralympic Swim Team Head Coach
2007 Adam Bleakney, U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Track Coach
2008 Ken Armbruster, U.S. Paralympic Women's Goalball Head Coach
USOC VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR
2003 Carol Hardemon, Metro Dade (Fla.) Track Club
2004 Barry Hunter, Washington, D.C. Boxing Coach
2005 Cindi Hart, IndySpeed Sport Club Head Coach (Speedskating)
2006 Booker Woods, LA JETS Head Coach (Track)
2007 Sherman Nelson, USA Taekwondo Coach
2008 Rita Gladstone, Area Tennis League Coordinator (Volusia County, Fla.)
USOC "DOC" COUNSILMAN SCIENCE AWARD
2004 Joe Vigil, Track & Field
2005 Dr. Kyle Pierce, USA Weightlifting
2006 Kate Arbour, U.S. Figure Skating
2007 Sean O'Neill, U.S. Paralympics Table Tennis
2008 Dave Bennett, USA Wrestling