Franke, Harnett and Liddie finalists for Paralympic National Coach of the Year

By U.S. Olympic Committee | April 05, 2013, 11:15 a.m. (ET)
Myles Porter with Ed Liddie
Ed Liddie, a finalist for the Paralympic National Coach of the Year, coached judoka Myles Porter to a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Another Liddie pupil, Dartanyon Crockett, won a bronze medal in London.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today unveiled finalists for its 2012 Coach of the Year awards. Finalists were selected in five categories, including National Coach of the Year, Paralympic National Coach of the Year, Developmental Coach of the Year, Volunteer Coach of the Year and the Doc Councilman Science Award.

Tom Franke (swimming), Jason Harnett (wheelchair tennis) and Ed Liddie (judo), all who coached athletes to medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, are nominees for Paralympic National Coach of the Year. The Paralympic National Coach of the Year is presented to a coach of an elite-level club, collegiate or national-level team or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of his/her sport. 

The Paralympic National Coach of the Year and the recipients of the four other awards will be announced during an awards dinner on June 21 at the conclusion of the 2013 National Coaching Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

U.S. Olympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2012 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. The finalists in each category were chosen by a panel of coaching and sport education professionals, and must be actively coaching or within one year of retirement to be eligible for the award.

The 2012 finalists:

National Coach of the Year
Adam Krikorian - Water Polo
Mike Krzyzewski - Basketball
Adam Soldati - Diving
Chip White - Skiing

Paralympic National Coach of the Year
Tom Franke - Swimming
Jason Harnett - Wheelchair Tennis
Ed Liddie - Judo

Developmental Coach of the Year
Stefan Feth - Table Tennis
Michael Nyitray - Bowling
Shannon Pohl - Badminton

Volunteer Coach of the Year
Geoff Griffin - Tennis
Tommy Hood - Karate
Don Showalter - Basketball

Doc Counsilman Science Award
Kathryn Arbour - Figure Skating
Doug Eng - Tennis
Meredith Miller - Taekwondo

2013 National Coaching Conference
The 2013 National Coaching Conference will take place in Colorado Springs, Colo., from June 19-21. Coaches, educators, organizations and sport science professionals from around the country will gather at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel to share research and new ideas. The theme of the 2013 conference is "Quality Coaches, Quality Sport."

Presiding as the keynote speakers for this year's event are Dr. Wade Gilbert, professor and researcher at California State University, Fresno; Dr. Bob Murray, founder and principal of Sports Science Insights LLC; and Drew Johansen, London 2012 Olympic medal-winning U.S. National Diving Team coach; along with Olympic divers Abby Johnston and Nick McCrory. Complete information on the conference can be found here.

Hosted by the USOC in association with the NCAA, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the annual conference focuses on enhancing coaching knowledge and disseminating the latest research, trends and innovations in order to develop beginner to elite athletes for optimum performance. USOC, National Governing Body, university and sport professionals will be presenting on topics based on the National Standards for Sport Coaches.

Conference registration is available here with discounted early registration available until April 15.

National Coach of the Year finalists
The National Coach of the Year is presented to a coach of an elite-level club, collegiate or national-level team, or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of his/her sport.

Adam Krikorian - Water Polo
Since taking over the reins of the U.S. Women's Senior National Water Polo Team in March 2009, Krikorian has been nearly perfect, leading the U.S. to a world championship, world cup and Pan American Games title - and most recently, capturing the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which marked the program's seventh world title in the last four years. The historic performance marked the first Olympic gold for the women's team, which finished the 2012 season with a 34-4-1 record.

Additionally, Krikorian added his fourth straight FINA World League title last summer. For his efforts, he was recognized with the Sandy Nitta Distinguished Women's Coaching Award, which is presented annually in honor of the top-performance by a coach of an elite women's program.

Mike Krzyzewski - Basketball
Krzyzewski led the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team to an 8-0 record en route to the gold medal at the London Olympic Games. With the win, he became the second coach in USA Basketball men's history to earn consecutive Olympic golds, and the only U.S. coach to have led teams to Olympic, FIBA World Championship and NCAA titles. Under his direction, the 2012 squad averaged 115.5 points per game and had an average margin of victory of 32.1 ppg., while setting five U.S. records and six U.S. single-game records. The win improved Krzyzewski's overall mark to 62-1 in major international competitions since 2006.

Currently in his 33rd season as the head men's basketball coach at Duke University, Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to a 30-6 record and the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. On Nov. 15, 2011, the NCAA Hall of Fame coach recorded his 903rd win, making him the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.

Adam Soldati - Diving
Making his Olympic coaching debut at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Adam Soldati - a 2012 World Cup coach and David Boudia's personal coach in London - helped make USA Diving history, leading Boudia to the program's first Olympic gold medal in men's 10-meter platform since 1988 and the first Olympic medal (bronze) in men's synchronized 10-meter diving. The gold-medal performance earned Boudia USA Diving Athlete of the Year honors, while Soldati was named USA Diving's National Coach of the Year. 

Currently in his eighth year as the head diving coach at Purdue University, Soldati has played a key role in advancing the sport by incorporating NCAA diving initiatives with national team objectives. His efforts in this area have inspired other coaches to do the same, causing a cultural shift that has many collegiate programs scheduling international meets to enhance solidarity with the elite NGB level. Soldati's method is manifest in Boudia's success on the NCAA, world and Olympic stage.

Chip White - Skiing
U.S. women's alpine speed head coach, Chip White led his world cup athletes to victory in the 2012-13 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup as all six athletes landed on the podium - including four first-timers. The team's victories earned an extraordinary 457-point margin over Switzerland in the downhill standings to secure its status as the best women's alpine speed team in the world. The team completed the season with a composite 2,230 world cup points - far exceeding the field by nearly 600 points in the Nation's Cup downhill and super G events.

White played a critical role in the team's emergence to the top of the world cup. In an intensely individual sport, White has helped foster a team camaraderie that not only helped his stars - Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso - achieve record-setting performances in 2012-13, but also created the deepest pool of podium-potential athletes on the international scene. Overall, six of White's athletes ended the season ranked in the top-16 internationally in downhill, and four ended the year rated in the top-15 in super-G, with Vonn winning a record sixth consecutive downhill title and Mancuso finishing second in the super-G standings.

Paralympic National Coach of the Year finalists
The Paralympic National Coach of the Year is presented to a coach of an elite-level club, collegiate or national-level team, or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of his/her sport.

Tom Franke - Swimming
As one of two head swimming coaches at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Franke helped lead Team USA to 41 medals (14 golds, 13 silvers, 14 bronzes). Three of the athletes Franke personally coaches made the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team and all three medaled. Anna Eames earned silver, Cortney Jordan earned three silvers and one bronze, and Justin Zook earned a gold medal and set the world record in the men's 100-meter backstroke (S10 classification). It was Zook's third consecutive Paralympic gold in that event. Eames, Jordan and Zook were not only leaders in the pool, they were team captains. Franke was awarded six Order of Ikkos medals by Paralympic athletes at the London Games, three were from athletes he did not coach on a regular basis. Franke continues to promote Paralympic swimming through his willingness to assist with military camps for injured service members. 

Jason Harnett - Wheelchair Tennis
Harnett served as an assistant head coach for Team USA at the London 2012 Paralympic Games where U.S. athletes won three medals, including a gold, silver and bronze. In London, he was recognized with the Order of Ikkos medal from Nick Taylor and David Wagner, who won a third consecutive Paralympic gold medal in quad doubles as well as individual silver (Wagner) and bronze (Taylor). In addition to his success as a coach in London, Harnett led Team USA to a third-place finish at the Invacare World Team Cup. The duo of Taylor and Wagner - who finished the season ranked No. 1 in the world - was named the USOC's Paralympic Team of the Year in September. Under the guidance of Harnett, Wagner finished the year with a world No. 1 ranking in singles.

Ed Liddie - Judo
Liddie, an Olympic bronze medal-winning judoka turned director of high performance for USA Judo, helped Dartanyon Crockett and Myles Porter to medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Crockett won bronze, a remarkable achievement as he had been recruited by Liddie only three years earlier. Liddie spotted Crockett, who was an able bodied wrestler, then developed his skill and technique at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Crockett had to move up a weight division (90 kg.) prior to London because the U.S. had not qualified in the lower weight class. It was also Liddie who led Porter to a silver medal. Porter is now ranked No. 1 nationally in both the able-bodied and Paralympic 100 kg. weight classes. Having Porter transcend Paralympic sport is a tremendous accomplishment, a testimony not only to his talent, passion and devotion to the sport, but also to Liddie's coaching and leadership.

Developmental Coach of the Year finalists
The Developmental Coach of the Year is presented to a coach at the youth club, high school or junior level, or a coach who is directly responsible for training athletes to reach the junior and/or elite level.

Stefan Feth - Table Tennis
Feth, a former member of the German National Table Tennis Team, concluded his third season at the helm of the U.S. Men's National Table Tennis Team in 2012, in which five of his students made U.S. cadet, and junior national teams. He has mentored each of the five athletes since joining USA Table Tennis in 2006. His experience and passion for table tennis have played a key role in developing youth from the grassroots to elite level, while further enhancing the sport.

Feth also developed a winning environment at his USATT Training Center of Excellence, the Top Spin Club, where he has mentored several national and junior cadet champions. Among that talented group is 17-year-old Ariel Hsing who advanced to the round of 32 in the singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Michael Nyitray - Bowling
Nyitray continues to lead his athletes to success at every level. Selected as a guest coach for the 2012 Tournament of the Americas, he helped pilot Team USA to 51 medals. Additionally in 2012, Nyitray led athletes to titles at the world youth championships, the Florida State USBC Tournament and the Florida High School Athletic Association State Championships, where he saw three of his four bowlers advance to the top-16- the best showing in Broward County history. Highlighting the performers was 16-year-old Krystina Nelson, who set four new records for Broward County High School Bowling.

In addition to managing the Broward County High School bowling team, Nyitray also volunteers as the head coach for Coral Glades High School and four additional fledgling high school programs. He also serves as a mentor to other coaches within the FHSAA bowling system, helping his peers develop their technical skills and league knowledge.

In 2012, Nyitray founded the nonprofit United States High School Bowling Foundation to bring greater awareness to high school bowling.  Under his direction, USHSBF managed all competitions for Broward County and hosted the second annual Broward/Dade High School Bowling Invitational Tournament.

Shannon Pohl - Badminton
After retiring from the U.S. national badminton team in 2009, Pohl founded the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy in Vernon Hills, Ill., where she applied her knowledge and skills from years of international competition to further the sport in her community. Today, Pohl personally mentors 169 junior players annually and SPBA provides year-round lessons, camps, and junior and adult tournaments. Her model has helped pave the way for several other coaches to form their own academies, which work with SPBA to create additional tournament opportunities.

Eight of her students were Illinois High School Association sectional champions and 13 were IHSA state medalists - including six were members of the 2012 IHSA state championship team. Additionally, Phol coached the top-six varsity players from Stevenson High School's state championship team that finished the season 24-0 in dual matches and multi-school competitions. Under her tutelage, these athletes compiled 333 wins, marking one of the most successful records in school history.

Volunteer Coach of the Year finalists
The Volunteer Coach of the Year is presented to a coach who does not receive payment in any form for his/her involvement in coaching at any level.

Geoff Griffin - Tennis
As the director of coaching at the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego - one of the largest public tennis facilities in the country - Griffin serves as a volunteer developmental coach, helping hundreds of mentees - at all levels - how to enhance their lives through tennis.

One of his defining legacies is his commitment to developing and offering free tennis programming to wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from across the country, made possible in part by the USOC's Olympic Opportunity Fund. As part of this initiative, Griffin has voluntarily coached over 400 service members and veterans from all branches of the military since launching the program in collaboration with Naval Medical Center and the San Diego Balboa Warrior Athlete Program in 2009. In May 2012, he also organized and led a team of eight coaches and dozens of volunteers to run the first annual National Military Tennis Camp for over 50 service members and veterans from across the country.

These two programs have achieved national recognition and have also served as the model for similar programs at other major military and veteran medical centers, and wounded warrior transition units across the country.

Tommy Hood - Karate
The 2012 USA Karate Coach of the Year, Hood directed two athletes to bronze medals at the 2012 Senior World Championships. He also served as head coach at the 2012 Senior Pan American Championships and 2012 Senior World Championships. Known for his distinguished career as a kumite athlete, Hood now funds his own travel to support athletes in international competitions. In 2012, he led one of his kata athletes to a world championship bronze medal - an incredible feat since kumite coaches rarely interact with kata athletes.

Don Showalter - Basketball
Showalter led the USA Basketball U17 National Team to a perfect 8-0 record and the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, held June 29 - July 8 in Kaunas, Lithuania. The win marked the fourth title for a Showalter-led team in elite international competition in as many years.

Then in September, he coached the USA Men's 3x3 U18 National Team during its training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., before traveling with the team to compete at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship in Alcobendas, Spain. FIBA rules prohibit coaching during competitions, so Showalter shifted gears to cheerleader and post-game advisor. With his help, the U.S. battled its way to the gold-medal game before falling to Serbia in overtime to bring home the silver medal. It was the first medal for a U.S. men's team in a FIBA 3x3 U18 event since the competition began in 2010.

One of the nation's most accomplished high school basketball coaches, Showalter completed his 38th season, compiling a 562-294 record (.657 winning percentage) and 16 district titles through the 2011-12 campaign. The following season, he took over as head coach at unranked Iowa City High School, where he is currently rebuilding the program.

Doc Counsilman Science Award finalists
The Doc Counsilman Science Award recognizes a coach who utilizes scientific techniques and equipment as an integral part of his/her coaching methods or has created innovative ways to use sport science.

Kathryn Arbour - Figure Skating
In 2012, Dr. Arbour applied her background as a former competitive skater and her knowledge in physical therapy, exercise physiology and biomechanics to create challenging training programs for figure skaters.  Her primary goal was to optimize conditioning for peak performance while avoiding overtraining and overuse injuries. 

She began her research by evaluating the effects of physical conditioning and on-ice mechanics on lower limb accelerations measured at the tibia at takeoff and landing during jumps. Previous research had suggested that skaters land with an estimated force of 6 to 8.5 times their body weight. Results of Arbour's research indicated that all landings resulted in large tibia shock resultant magnitudes, regardless of the number of rotations, proficiency or strength of the skater. 

Her findings have been well-received throughout the figure skating community and are regarded as a critical first step in identifying which skates offer the best protection from high impact. Currently, she is developing a website and mobile application that provides weekly workouts and video clips with descriptions for a full annual periodization cycle.   
 
Doug Eng - Tennis
Utilizing his doctorate in sport psychology and sport pedagogy, Eng adapted a mental training manual for young athletes, which compliments the mental training course he created for the Professional Tennis Registry. His curriculum has played a critical role in developing athletes at the grassroots level by making presenting basic performance intervention techniques and sport science more appealing to younger athletes. His work has greatly impacted the U.S. Tennis Association and the PTR.

A regular contributor to the U.S. Professional Tennis Association magazine, Eng engages member coaches and welcomes feedback from competitors to learn more about functional training, injury prevention and other areas of sport science that will benefit athletes.  Eng feels that having better prepared coaches will result in better athlete performance and enjoyment. Using scientific information helps athletes improve, train smarter and reduce injuries.

Eng provides a comprehensive approach to sport science and performance at all levels of competition. However, the creative part of Eng's approach is the empowering nature of his relationship with his athletes and coaches, which allows them to discover ways to improve through research and collaboration.

Meredith Miller - Taekwondo
Miller developed a technology scouting tool for USA Taekwondo coaches and athletes to utilize in preparation for major international competitions, including the London 2012 Olympic Games. The technology marked the first time statistics were used to evaluate international competitors in the sport. Under the 2012 Taekwondo Scouting Project, every athlete who qualified to compete at the Olympic Games was statistically assessed using video analysis. The technology helped U.S. Olympians and coaches evaluate the tendencies, strengths and weaknesses of their competitors in a simple format that could be interpreted to enhance strategy leading into Olympic competition.

The written scouting manual was supplemented with an online video analysis system that allows athletes and coaches to further review opponents' tendencies. The new technology proved effective, helping Team USA capture two bronze medals at the London Games.

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