Drobnick, Henry named head coaches for 2010 Olympic Winter Games
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Phill Drobnick (Duluth, Minn.) and Wally Henry (Beaver Dam, Wis.) have been named head coaches for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In addition, Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) has been named as alternate for the men's team. Plys, 21, a five-time U.S. junior national champion and world junior champion, was the youngest skip in the field at the 2010 Olympic Team Trials in February in Broomfield, Colo.
Henry, 60, will coach the women's team led by his daughter Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.). Henry has been the coach of Team McCormick since the 2003-04 season. He served as an assistant coach at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was named USA Curling Coach of the Year in 2007 and has been instrumental in the McCormick team's current streak of four straight national titles. As an athlete, Henry won two U.S. national titles, earning bronze medals at the concurrent world championships in 1991 and 1986. He also won the 2007 U.S. Senior Nationals, finishing fourth at the World Senior Championships that year. Now retired, Henry worked for many years at Herzing College in Madison.
"As a long time curler, success in the sport has always been high on my list of goals. When curling was granted medal status, many years ago, I had retired from competitive competition," Henry said. "Now as a coach, I am extremely excited that I can be involved in the highest level of the sport. I am also ecstatic that I will coach a team that has such excellent potential. I know they will work hard in preparation. The fact that my daughter is on the team is icing on the cake."
Drobnick, 28, was selected this month to coach the John Shuster team in Vancouver. Drobnick has coached the Chris Plys junior team for the past three seasons, leading them to a bronze in 2009, gold in 2008 and a fifth-place finish in 2007 at the World Junior Championships. He was named USA Curling Coach of the Year in 2008 after the success of Team Plys at the World Juniors. As an athlete, Drobnick has competed at several Men's Nationals, Olympic Team Trials and won the 2000 U.S. junior title. He works as a probation officer with St. Louis County.
"I am very honored to be selected by USA Curling and the Shuster team to be the head coach for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games," Drobnick said. "It is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenge. I know all of the guys on the team really well. I have played or worked with them all in the past. This will also give me an opportunity to continue to work with Chris (Plys) as we have been together for three years."
Both Olympic curling teams will be participating in a year-long training program to prepare for the Olympic Games.
"I think that the USCA/USOC have developed a great schedule that will help prepare Team Shuster to get on the medal stand in February," Drobnick said. "Preparation for the games will start this spring. It is a very intense and time consuming schedule. As a full-time probation officer my employer, Arrowhead Regional Correction, has been wonderful throughout this whole process. Both of my bosses Wally Kostich and Kay Arola have been super supportive of this opportunity. Without the support of them this opportunity would not be possible. I am looking forward to working with such a talented group of guys. John has proven to be one of the top skips in the world and will continue to get better. It is going to be an exciting year. I will do everything I can to get these guys in position to get a medal in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympic Games."
These coach nominations are pending final approval by United States Olympic Committee's Board of Directors.