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USOC Names Finalists for Annual Coaching Awards

March 19, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

For Immediate Release March 19, 2008 USOC Names Finalists for Annual Coaching Awards COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced the finalists for its National, Developmental, Volunteer, and Paralympic Coach of the Year honors as well as the finalists for the"Doc"Counsilman Science Award. The awards will be presented on April, 15 during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Chicago, Ill. Each year, 43 Olympic and Pan American sport organizations select their nominations for the National, Developmental, Volunteer and/or Paralympic Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. Five finalists were selected in each of the categories with the exception of Paralympics which included three. The first"Doc"Counsilman Science Award was given posthumously to its namesake in 2003 and five finalists were tabbed for this year's honor. National Coach of the Year Finalists Guy Baker (Long Beach, Calif./Women's Water Polo), Bob Bowman (Ann Arbor, Mich./Swimming), Mike Candrea (Oklahoma City, Okla./Softball), David Johnson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Shooting), and Tom Terhaar (Monmouth Junction, N.J./Rowing) have been named as finalists for the 2007 USOC National Coach of the Year award. Guy Baker led the 2006-07 U.S. Women's Water Polo team to a meteoric international rise as the team went undefeated (35-0-1) in competition, grabbing gold medals at the 2007 World Championships, the 2007 World League Super Final, and the 2007 Pan American Games, where the team qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The team's triple gold performance is unprecedented in U.S. water polo history, and their FINA World Championships earned the U.S. its second title (2003, 2007), which ties the U.S. with Italy (1998, 2001) and Hungary (1994, 2005) for the most FINA World Championship titles held by a country. Most recognized for his protege, Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman is the head coach of Club Wolverine, where he oversees the training of American swimming stars Kaitlin Sandeno, Peter Vanderkaay and Erik Vendt as well as Phelps. Twelve Bowman-coached swimmers earned spots on the 2007-08 U.S. National Team. Club Wolverine won both the 2007 Spring and Summer ConocoPhillips National Championships by point margins of 224.5 and 178, respectively. As the U.S. men's head coach for the 2007 FINA World Championships Bowman's swimmers led the medal standings with 11 golds and eight silvers and set nine world records. Bowman is also the head men's swimming coach at the University of Michigan, where he has been at the helm of the Wolverines for four years. As the head coach for USA Softball, Mike Candrea led the U.S. Women's National Team to a 24-1 season record and to gold medal finishes at the Canada Cup (10-0), the World Cup (6-0), the Pan American Games (4-0) and the Japan Cup (4-1). His team outscored opponents 183-14 while the pitching staff combined for a 0.20 ERA over three summer competitions. As the head coach for the University of Arizona, Candrea led the Wildcats to back-to-back NCAA National Championship titles, was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the 10th time, and won his 1100th NCAA Division I game. In 2007, David Johnson's USA Shooting athletes won eleven medals in World Cup competition (3 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze), competed in 26 international finals, earned five Olympic participation slots, and had five junior wins in international competition. Responsible for training over 45 National and National Development Team athletes, Johnson is also the coach of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Matt Emmons. Since being hired as head coach of the U.S. Women's Rowing National Team in 2001, Tom Terhaar has established an outstanding program that has shown great success at the international level. His women's eight team won back-to-back world titles in the 2006 and 2007 FISA World Rowing Championships, the first consecutive world titles in U.S. Rowing history. In addition, he coached his women's four to its first gold since 2003, and his women's pair and both women's quadruple sculls teams qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Lastly, Terhaar's women's eight won gold at the 2007 Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston while setting a course record. Developmental Coach of the Year Finalists The USOC Developmental Coach of the Year finalists for 2007 are Jon Cooper (Ballwin, Mo./Ice Hockey), Bob Gunter (The Woodlands, Texas/Diving), Jimmy Kim (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Taekwondo), Joanne P. McCallie (Durham, N.C./Women's Basketball), and Paul Yetter (Baltimore, Md./Swimming). Jon Cooper coached the North American Hockey League's St. Louis Bandits to their first NAHL South Division Team and USA Hockey Tier II Junior A National Championships. His team also set records for regular season wins and playoff wins in a season as well as NCAA Division I College Commitments and National Hockey League Entry Draft picks. Cooper served as the head coach of the U.S. Men's Under-17 Select Team for the 2007 Five Nations Tournament in Strakonice, Czech Republic, where he led the U.S. to a second-place finish. He also coached Pat Maroon, who became the first Bandit in franchise history to be awarded the NAHL's Most Valuable Player. More than 50 of Cooper's former Bandits are playing collegiate hockey and five have been NHL draft picks. Bob Gunter's divers had an excellent year in 2007, winning nine junior national titles and 12 Junior Pan American Championship medals. Gunter had three divers, more than any other coach, named to the 2007-08 Olympic Medal Program Tier II level, which identifies younger divers deemed to have future Olympic medal potential. Of these three divers, one has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Team Trials for diving at age 14, making her the youngest diver qualified for the meet. Gunter's Woodlands Diving Academy won the overall team title at the 2007 Junior National Championships, claiming nine of 18 possible national titles. Jimmy Kim coached 16-year-old female fin/flyweight Charlotte Craig to first-place finishes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and Pan American Games Trials, second place at the U.S. National Team Trials, and bronze medals at the World Championships, Pan American Olympic Qualifier, and the U.S. Open. Craig defeated the defending world champion Belen Asensio of Spain en route to her bronze medal at the World Championships in Beijing. When not in the coaching chair, Kim serves as a photographer at most USA Taekwondo events and donates all his photos for use by USA Taekwondo. In compiling a perfect 8-0 record and earning a gold medal at the U21 World Championship, Joanne McCallie led a USA Basketball Women's U21 World Championship Team that dominated opponents by an average of 30 points per contest. . Additionally, under McCallie seven U.S. players broke into the World Championship record books in eight different statistical categories. The USA U21 squad also tallied a 3-0 exhibition record in pre-tournament series of games against the French U21 National Team. The USA dominated the tournament's statistics, ranking No.1 in 10 of the 19 team categories, including scoring margin (+30.0), rebounding margin (+26.6), steals (12.63) and assist/turnover ratio (1.19). Paul Yetter has established himself as one of the premier club swimming coaches in the U.S., despite being one of the younger coaches in the swimming community. Most recognized for his success coaching 18-year-old world record-holder, and 2007 USOC Sportswoman of the Year Katie Hoff, Yetter currently has 13 athletes eligible for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Swimming. Since joining the coaching staff at North Baltimore Aquatics Club in 2001, he was the only coach to place four athletes on the 2007 National Junior Team. Each athlete had at least one top-four finish at the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Maui, Hawaii. Volunteer Coach of the Year Finalists Maryilyn Deister (Kansas City, Mo./ Synchronized Swimming), Matthew (Matt) S. Dubois, DDS (Grosse Ile, Mich./Sailing), Sherman Nelson (Washington, D.C./Taekwondo), Jock Oubichon (San Diego, Calif./Table Tennis), and Bill Walker (St. Petersburg, Fla./Diving) round out the finalists for the 2007 USOC Volunteer Coach of the Year award. Maryilyn Deister started the Kansas City Sea Sprites, the oldest synchronized swimming club in the U.S. over 50 years ago and has remained the club's only head coach. In the 2007 North Zone Championships, Deister coached a duet team to fifth place, a solo swimmer to fifth place, a trio team to fourth place, and the Sea Sprites to a fourth overall finish. The staff of the Sea Sprites is comprised entirely of volunteers, enabling the team to offer very reasonable club team rates and in turn, allowing many athletes to be involved in the sport that would otherwise not be able to participate. In addition, Deister contributes money out of her own pocket to cover the travel expenses for her assistant coaches. Matt Dubois started the first sailing program at Grosse Ile High School and donated a 26-foot sailboat to allow his students to compete in the local Wednesday Night Races. In 2007, his high school team placed eighth out of 24 teams at the MISSA Great Lakes High School Championships, and fourth out of 18 teams at the Grosse Ile Invitational. His Laser Radial and 420 sailors came in multiple second and third place finishes in various high school regattas. Dubois lists one his proudest moments as seeing high school students wearing sailing lettermen's jackets where one would normally see basketball or football instead. Sherman Nelson displays boundless enthusiasm and an ability to connect with young Taekwondo athletes. He teaches his athletes the importance of serving, and recognizing that they are fortunate to be able to train, travel, compete and enjoy life through taekwondo. Nelson instills a responsibility to pay back fortune to the less fortunate. In 2007, Nelson's athletes recorded two bronze medals at the U.S. Nationals as well as two gold, one silver and a bronze medal at the U.S. Junior Olympics. His team earned three gold medals at the Junior Team Trials as well as two gold medals and a bronze medal at the Jr. Pan American Championships. Jack Oubichon is mainly responsible for Table Tennis's Tier 2 junior group, which turns beginner level players into solid prospects with sound table tennis fundamentals. As a volunteer, Oubichon eschews payment for the love of the sport and the joy of teaching. Don James Alto and Brana Vlasic are two top juniors that have benefited from Oubichon, who started coaching at San Diego Table Tennis Academy in recent years. Oubichon has also helped establish table tennis clubs at local high schools and demonstrates monthly exhibitions at local middle schools to continue to generate interest in the sport. As the diving coach at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, Bill Walker has achieved success. He also offers assistance to several other clubs and schools in the area. Four of the eight divers Walker works with advanced to the 2007 Florida State High School Championships finals, and another won a 2007 district title. Walker places paramount focus on fundamental skills and incorporates conditioning and weights into his training. Even though coaching other clubs makes it harder for his divers to win, he gladly passes on his knowledge to all that want to learn. In 2007, in addition to coaching, Walker trained two individuals to coach diving with the purpose of building grassroots diving in the area. Paralympic Coach of the Year Finalists The finalists for Paralympic Coach of the Year for 2007 are Adam Bleakney (Savoy, Ill./Track and Field), Ron Lykins (Stillwater, Minn./Women's Wheelchair Basketball) and Steve Wilson (Racine, Wis./Men's Wheelchair Basketball). In 2007, Adam Bleakney coached three U.S. athletes to world records including Paralympian of the year, Jessica Galli, who world broke records in the T53 200m, 400m and 800m races. Additionally, Amanda McGrory broke the T53 500m world record, and Josh George broke the T53 800m world record. Anjali Forber-Pratt, another of Bleakney's athletes, emerged onto the international scene by winning double gold and bronze at the Parapan American Games and qualified for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Elite Team. At the 2007 Parapan American Games, Ron Lykins prepared his U.S. Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team to face world No. 1 Canada, which had beaten the U.S. for gold at the 2006 World Championships. The team precisely executed the game plan to take an early lead and remained mentally focused to prevent Canada from even pulling back even. Mental toughness is a major component Lykins works to instill in his players, which showed in the gold medal game where the U.S. struggled offensively but played a great defensively, ultimately winning Team USA the gold medal. Although the Canadians are the perennial powerhouse in the world of wheelchair basketball, coach Steve Wilson led the U.S. Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team to a gold medal at the 2007 Parapan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. In the gold medal game, the U.S. defeated the then No. 1 ranked Canadian team52-50. In a game that initially looked like the Americans would lose, Team USA fought back and scored 10 unanswered points to take the lead. With :10 seconds left and the game on the line, Wilson made a key defensive substitution that allowed Team USA to preserve the win."Doc"Councilman Science Award Finalists The finalists for the"Doc"Counsilman Science Award are Dr. John Garhammer (Huntington Beach, Calif./Weightlifing), Juan M. Moreno (Miami, Fla./Taekwondo), Sean O'Neill (Portland, Ore./Table Tennis), Debbie Pitsos (White Lake, Mich./Figure Skating), and Wolfgang Schaedler (Lake Placid, N.Y./Luge). James E."Doc"Counsilman is considered one of the greatest coaches in any sport of all time. He coached the Indiana University men's swimming team to six consecutive NCAA championships and 23 Big Ten titles over three decades. Counsilman also produced 48 Olympians and coached the 1964 Tokyo and 1976 Montreal teams, which became two of the most wining Olympic teams in history. His swimmers won a total of 46 Olympic medals, 26 of them gold. Counsilman is most known for his revolutionary contributions to swimming. Always willing to"buck the trend"Counsilman changed the accepted thought processes pertaining to stroke mechanics and exercise physiology. His book, The Science of Swimming, is still used as a reference by coaches worldwide. The"Doc"Counsilman Science Award is for a coach that utilizes scientific techniques and equipment as an integral part of his or her coaching methods, or has created innovative ways to use sport science. Dr. John Garhammer primarily uses film-and video-based biomechanical analysis to understand in detail the technique characteristics of male and female world and Olympic weightlifting champions. He utilizes force placement and EMG methodology to better understand the biomechanical characteristics of the weightlifting technique and uses this information to teach and improve the lifting technique in U.S. athletes at all levels. Dr. Garhammer is a highly published researcher and has presented three reports to the governing body of U.S. Weightlifting concerning the technique of athletes representing the U.S. in World (1978) and Olympic (1984) competition. Coach Juan Moreno has played a critical role in enhancing the scouting abilities of U.S. National Teams through the development of a tagging module with Dartfish video analysis. The tagging module, a USAT High Performance initiative, will allow U.S. National Team coaching staffs to evaluate the tactics and strategies of opponents with greater efficiency by providing only the most critical video footage and statistics to the coaches at competitions. At the domestic level, coach Moreno incorporates technology in training by educating coaches on the manner in which the Dartfish system can assist them on proper technique development for their athletes. Using Google's Video and Document tools, Sean O'Neill has taken remote coaching to a new level by allowing players to get instant feedback via online forms, instant messaging, and SMS for their training and competition needs. Everyday training drills, tournament prep notes, training suggestions, motivational advice, competition review and sports psychology tips are provided for team members in a secure fashion that can be accessed through a web connection. Combining online video and training logs allows O'Neill to remotely coach players in any state. In the future, O'Neill hopes to utilize iPod technology to allow the athletes to view their video feed anywhere. Debbie Pitsos developed a training model with U.S. Figure Skating based on the different phases of training to help skaters and coaches plan out the training year so that the athletes peak for their important competitions. She helps teach athletes and coaches how to utilize aerobic and anaerobic conditioning principles on and off the ice and how to relate those principles to performance. Her knowledge of sports science allows her to develop exercises that are sports specific. Pitsos believes in the importance of having the most current information and is always working to stay educated in the sport. Wolfgane Schaedler's machinist background has allowed him to become one of the most recognizable luge sled builders in the world. During the off season, he is often found at his home in Triesenberg, Liechtenstein creating a U.S. team sled's runner from scratch, shaping the runner's wood cores, and designing and building sled molds based upon wind tunnel studies. His technological focus combined with his coaching skill has allowed U.S. Luge to grow from an international curiosity to an international powerhouse. Schaedler has the unique ability to combine science with the art of motivation. For more information, please contact the USOC Media and Public Relations Division, (719) 866-4529.