Gig Harbor Sweeps Coaching Honors at 2012 Sprint Conference

Feb. 22, 2013, 12:20 a.m. (ET)

Gig Harbor

(L-R: Co-Chairs of Trophy and Awards Committee Frank and Connie Naughton, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi, Coach Alan Anderson, Coach Graham Ulmer, ParaCanoe athlete Joshua Wold, Volunteer Missy Hill, and Coach Jon Sousely)

USA Canoe/Kayak announced its 2012 Awards for Flatwater Sprint at its annual Coaching and Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Feb. 15-17.

It was a clean sweep of the awards for the Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Race Team on the heels of their overall club National Championship title in August 2012. The Washington state club received the Yonkers Trophy to commemorate its National Championship.

Coach of the Year: Alan Anderson, Head Coach and Founder, Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Race Team. Anderson becomes the first to win the award in consecutive years, after claiming the honor in 2011.

"I am honored to receive this recognition of our efforts in Gig Harbor,” Anderson said. “These accomplishments will be shared by our paddlers, our parents, and the many friends we have throughout our community. I want to especially recognize our canoe coach, and strength and conditioning coach, Jonathan Sousley who brings creativity and so much enjoyment to our paddlers. We are excited to be part of our country’s resurgence in the Olympic sport of canoe/kayak and look forward to seeing an American once again on the podium. The support that we are getting from the community of Gig Harbor has been incredible lately, and we hope to find a home here so that we can continue to inspire young people to reach for their dreams."

“This was an exceptional break through year for the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Club as this small group of talented athletes won the overall National Championship Trophy for most points accumulated by a Club,” said Mac Hickox, National Sprint Development Director and Chair of the Sprint Coaches Association. “Alan has a philosophy of gender equity and inclusion of athletes with disabilities in their program offerings. Gig Harbor has become a model club for the other clubs within USA Canoe Kayak to follow.”

Development Coach of the Year: Graham Ulmer, Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Race Team. 

"This award is recognizing the team approach that Jon [Sousely], Alan and I have implemented at Gig Harbor,” Ulmer said.

“Graham is the key reason why we continue to have a pipeline of talent,” said 2011 Development Coach of the Year Jon Sousley (Gig Harbor), who presented the award. “Whether covered in mud or soaking wet, Graham's always-present calm manner, instant smile and easy laugh encourages the young Gig Harbor athletes to constantly improve day to day through an environment that is stress free.”

"The Under-14 pipeline has been a steady stream of talent in this Northwest hotbed for the last five years,” Hickox said. “Graham does not like the spotlight, but at some point his efforts had to be acknowledged on a national level.”

Volunteer of the Year: Missy Hill, Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Race Team. Hill volunteered her time and energy as Chair of the Sprint Events Committee, member of the ParaCanoe Committee, and official for the 2012 U.S. National Championships, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and 2012 Lake Placid International Regatta.

Missy became involved in Sprint Canoe Kayak officiating as a way to channel her nerves as her daughter Katy Hill competed in competitions around the country. "I want to be sure that Gig Harbor youth continue to enjoy a healthy lifestyle associated with the program offered by Coach Anderson,” Missy Hill said. “The new Clubhouse is our goal.”

 “USA Canoe Kayak is proud to present the Volunteer Award to Missy to acknowledge our gratitude for her service and dedication to our membership," Hickox said.

Sprint Coaches Association Honorary Coach: Jerzy Dziadkowiec. Dziadkowiec was the U.S. National Team Coach from the late 1980’s up to 2004. He most recently coached the Czech Republic Men’s Kayak-4 team that won the Bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Dziadkowiec is the first to receive the Honorary Coach Award.

USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at