Coach Erik Flora (L) speaks with Kikkan Randall before the cross-country skiing individual sprint finals at the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
The United States Olympic Committee today announced its annual award recipients for 2013 national coaches of the year. On the Olympic side, Erik Flora (cross-country skiing; Anchorage, Alaska) was recognized as National Coach of the Year, while Adam Bleakney (Paralympic track & field; Champaign, Illinois) took home Paralympic National Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Kathleen Johnston (triathlon; Nashville, Tennessee) was named Developmental Coach of the Year, Bienvenido “Benny” Roman (boxing; Brooklyn, New York) was selected Volunteer Coach of the Year and Gordon Uehling III (tennis; Alpine, New Jersey) took home the Doc Councilman Science Award.
“It’s an honor to recognize these coaches for their impact on countless athletes around the country,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance. “Their tireless efforts and dedication to helping athletes strive for excellence is an inspiration to all.”
National Governing Bodies selected their 2013 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. Three national finalists in each category were selected by a panel of coaching and sport education professionals.
National Coach of the Year – Erik Flora
As head coach of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Club, Flora directed four cross-country athletes from the 13-member U.S. team that competed at the 2013 World Championships, including 2013 team sprint world champion Kikkan Randall. The win marked the first world championship gold medal in cross-country skiing for the U.S., and the first medal of any color in a team event. Under Flora’s guidance, Randall and Holly Brooks also led the U.S. women’s team to its first relay podium finish in world cup history, and Randall became the first American woman to finish in the top-three of the overall FIS Cross-Country World Cup standings. Flora also aided other top U.S. skiers to breakthrough results in 2013, including Sadie Bjorsen, Erik Bjornsen and overall SuperTour champion Rosie Brennan. For his success, he was recognized as the 2013 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Coach of the Year and the 2013 USSA International Cross-Country Coach of the Year.
Aimee Boorman – Gymnastics
Adam Soldati – Diving
Paralympic National Coach of the Year – Adam Bleakney
A four-time Paralympian, Bleakney helped U.S. athletes earn 13 medals at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships in Lyon, France. As head coach for the University of Illinois wheelchair track & field program, Bleakney played a key role in developing world champions Tatyana McFadden and Raymond Martin. At the 2013 World Championships, McFadden led the U.S. medal haul with a historic six gold medals, while Martin – the 2013 USOC Paralympic SportsMan of the Year – became the first man to win five world titles. Overall, Bleakney coached nine athletes on the U.S. world team, including men’s 800-meter champion Josh George and women’s 200 bronze medalist Chelsea McClammer. Following the world championships, Bleakney aided McFadden in becoming the first to win the marathon grand slam with victories at 2013 London, Boston, Chicago and New York City marathons.
Angie Bengtsson – Table Tennis
Brett Wolf – Judo
Developmental Coach of the Year – Kathleen Johnston
Johnston led the Southeast Junior High Performance Triathlon Team to the 2013 USA Triathlon Developmental Team Championship title. Under her guidance, three athletes earned top-three finishes at the 2013 USAT Junior Elite National Championship, and two athletes finished in the top three of the 2013 USAT Junior Elite rankings. Johnston was named the U.S. head coach for the 2013 Pan American Triathlon Confederation Junior Championships and International Triathlon Union Junior Elite World Championships, as well as co-head coach for the USAT Junior Elite Women’s Camp. As the southeast regional athlete development coordinator for USAT, she also held clinics for coaches and parents in the Nashville area, launched the Southeast Junior Elite program and directed the Tennessee chapter of Team in Training.
Sue Phillips – Basketball
Jim White – Archery
Volunteer Coach of the Year – Bienvenido “Benny” Roman
After being selected by USA Boxing to serve as a training camp coach, Roman joined the coaching staff for the 2013 Continental Championships, women’s junior and youth world championships and the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games, in which he aided American athletes to 26 medals (12 golds, five silvers, nine bronzes). In addition to his coaching role at the Atlas Cops N’ Kids gym in Brooklyn, New York, Roman aided Christina Cruz to a national title and Edgar Berlanga to silver medals at the 2013 Junior World Team Open and 2013 Junior National Championships.
David Lee Moneypenny – Speedskating
Landon Powell – Baseball
National Doc Counsilman Science Award – Gordon Uehling III
Uehling was invited to speak at the 2013 International Tennis Federation World Coaching Conference in Cancun, Mexico, to present his advancements in balance control and slip-step technology. Using video analysis and CourtSense TV, Uehling trained more than 500 junior athletes each week at the CourtSense tennis school in New Jersey. The technology helped players improve their technique by using split-step light coupled with neuro- and biofeedback. His work was featured in the August 2013 issue of Men’s Journal and on the Tennis Channel, which highlighted his mentorship of Olympian Christine McHale. He is currently working with the U.S. Tennis Association to create a pilot program for PlaySight, a revolutionary technology that would allow coaches and players to make line calls. >/p>
Shane Domer – Speedskating
Larry Hodges – Table Tennis
For a list of all previous USOC Coach of the Year Award recipients, click here.