COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Badminton's Shannon Pohl was unveiled as a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee's 2012 Developmental Coach of the Year Award. This is the first time a badminton coach has been selected as a finalist for this award. 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. The Developmental Coach of the Year Award is presented to a coach at a 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.
Shannon Pohl grew up in Arlington Heights, IL where she learned to play badminton at Prospect High School. She went on to represent Team USA for over ten years in badminton competitions in 54 countries. She was a member of the U.S. World Championship Badminton Team from 2005-2009. After retiring from the U.S. national badminton team in 2009, Pohl founded the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy in Vernon Hills, Illinois, where she applied her knowledge and skills from years of international training and competition to further the sport in her community. Today, Pohl personally mentors 169 junior players at the SPBA and provides year-round lessons, camps, open gym, and junior and adult tournaments.
Twenty-two of Shannon's students qualified for the 2012 Illinois High School Association State Championship which included eight IHSA sectional champions. Thirteen SPBA students were 2012 IHSA state medalists – including six members of the IHSA state championship team. Pohl privately 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. Individual athletes from this state championship team alone compiled 333 individual wins, marking one of the most successful records in school history. Her students also won sportsmanship awards at the local and state level.
Shannon contributes to the sport of badminton locally and internationally through a variety of programming. The North Shore Open will be held at the SPBA on June 14-16 and is expected to attract over 100 participants of all ages and levels. To further inspire players and coaches in the sport, she organizes the USBEF Midwest Regional Junior Badminton Camp and Coaching Clinic, bringing in two-time Olympian and the top Pan Am singles player in Olympic history, Anna Rice of Canada. Shannon is currently also working with Maccabi USA and the Bernard Weinger Jewish Community Center to develop a program for 4-12 year olds. She is excited to be on the coaching staff at Golder College Prep (the only IHSA badminton team in the city of Chicago) for the 2013 IHSA season. While competing for Team USA, Shannon was moved by the extreme poverty and lack of athletic resources available to children in Africa, despite their keen interest in badminton. She developed the Rackets for Uganda program and has now collected more than 200 rackets with the help of Wilson Sporting Goods, badminton clubs and players. She is currently seeking sponsors to put together a clinic next year for these underserved kids.
Shannon's dedication to the sport of badminton has earned her a trip to the 2013 National Coaching Conference in Colorado Springs, where all five USOC award recipients will be announced during an awards dinner on Friday, June 21. Shannon will also be speaking on a panel at the conference on the subject of athlete development. 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.
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. More information on all 2012 finalists can be found in the U.S. Olympic Committee's press release.
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
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. More information on all 2012 finalists can be found in the U.S. Olympic Committee's press release.