USATT Awards Five Top Honors as Coaches of the Year

By USATT | Jan. 31, 2017, 4:19 p.m. (ET)
USOC and USATT

USATT AWARDS FIVE TOP HONORS AS COACHES OF THE YEAR
Feth , Dubina, Wenzhang, Ciarrochi, and Fraiman Honored For Contributions To The Sport

Colorado Springs, CO (January 31, 2017) – USA Table Tennis (USATT) announced today the recipients of its 2016 “Coaches of the Year,” which are awarded annually in five categories:

  • Olympic Coach of the Year: Stefan Feth (Mountain View, CA)
  • Paralympic Coach of the Year: Gary Fraiman (Clearwater, FL)
  • Mark Nordby Developmental Coach of the Year: Tao Wenzhang (Milpitas, CA)
  • Doc Counsilman Technology Coach of the Year: Samson Dubina (Akron, OH)
  • Volunteer Coach of the Year: Joe Ciarrochi (Akron, OH)

“I would like to congratulate all of the recipients of our Coaches of the Year awards,” said USATT CEO Gordon Kaye. “With so many superb coaches in the United States, I know it was a difficult decision of the selection committee. What is particularly encouraging is the amount of energy and investment that these well-deserving coaches have made to the development of our outstanding group of young athletes.”

In 2016, The Developmental Coach of the Year award was renamed in honor of Mark Nordby to recognize his outstanding contribution to the development of youth table tennis in the US.

Olympic Coach of the Year – Stefan Feth (Developmental Coach of the Year 2011, 2012, 2013)

Stefan Feth“Thank you USATT for recognizing me as the Olympic National Coach of the Year. 2016 was a milestone year. I couldn't be prouder of Kanak Jha and the mature player he has become at such a young age. To be in his corner from the very beginning with WCTTA and help him reach new heights are truly some of my dreams coming true and the highlights of my coaching career so far. 2016 gives even more meaning and validation for my move to America 10 years ago to become a professional full-time coach. I am honored and grateful.” Stefan Feth

“Stefan is an amazing coach. He has been my coach since the beginning of my career and has helped me accomplish so many achievements throughout the years. His motivation to help his students improve matches the students’ themselves. I always feel comfortable talking to him because he is understanding and empathetic. He really wants to know his students well. I can talk to him freely about any problem, and this has made him not only a coach, but a mentor for me as well. Knowing that I can reach him anywhere and at any time, I am confident he will tackle the problem.” Kanak Jha, 2016 USATT National Champion

Paralympic Coach of the Year – Gary Fraiman (first time recipient)

Gary Fraiman"It is an honor and a privileged to be selected as the 2016 Paralympic Coach of the Year. I find it very rewarding to be coaching Para players at this point in my coaching career and I look forward to doing so for many years to come.” Gary Fraiman

“Gary is very dedicated to the growth and development of the Para program and the athletes he personally coaches. Gary is very accommodating and finds interesting techniques to improve our game in spite of the disabilities we have.” Tara Profitt, USATT Athletes Advisory Chair

Mark Nordby Developmental Coach of the Year - Tao Wenzhang (first time recipient)

Tao Wenzhang"I would like to start off by thanking the selection committee for this award. I am also very thankful for being part of the ICC Table Tennis Family as ICC truly has a great environment for us coaches to help develop players, especially young players. I am very surprised and honored receive this award. There is a lot of work ahead for all of us (players, coaches and supporters) to continue growing this great sport. I will continue to work hard and I hope to influence as many people around me as possible to help grow this amazing sport.” Tao Wenzhang

“Tao has extremely high standards, and we are extremely appreciative of the commitment that he has shown to Nikhil and other players. He sets goals for his players and pushes them hard to achieve them. He makes himself available to his players — whether it be morning fitness, watching league in the evening, or providing feedback late nights. He also encouraged his players to work as a team. He is humble and is open to inputs from others." Shashi Kumar, father of Nikhil Kumar, USATT National Team

“We are honored that Tao Wenzhang has been selected as the first recipient of the Mark Nordby Development Coach of the Year. Mark exemplified the meaning of the word ‘COACH.’ He was dedicated and hardworking -- and had the ability to dissect the strengths and weaknesses of an opponent. Mark has been definitely missed.” Michael Gopin, El Paso Table Tennis Club

Doc Counsilman Technology Coach of the Year - Samson Dubina (2015 and 2016 recipient)

Samson Dubina“I'm very excited that table tennis is gaining momentum here in the US. As we continue to move up the ranks, my goal is to challenge myself and those around me to think of ways to improve the quality of each training session. In 2016, I was excited to launch my new product (TT-Flex™), introduce Bluetooth coaching, as well as continue working online with players around the country. I'm even more excited about 2017, as I introduce new coaching ideas using technology to help grow the sport!” Samson Dubina

“Samson integrates sport science and technology very effectively by taking advantage of new and innovative resources to reach students nationwide. His understanding of the science behind the sport in addition to his multi-angle cameras help his students visualize and personally see what is going on. Moreover, he has used SKYPE and other technologies to overcome geographic boundaries and efficiently integrate his online coaching and instant video analysis.” Angela Guan, USATT National Team Member

“Sports science and technology are key factors for racket games to achieve high goals, and Samson has a sound awareness of the physics of the racket and rotation kinematics of ball movements. He always uses different equipment and tactics to educate us about the movements of the ball in different angles of the rackets and body movements. He uses robot machines and other biomechanical models to illustrate the importance of the manipulation of different racket angles, effect of the center of gravity in the racket game, rotating and spinning tactics of the ball, and other various theories. His real-time video playback system is very helpful to get a better understanding of the weak points of techniques, movements and racket manipulation. He is very active on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube and uploads valuable instructional videos relating to new strokes, game-play, footwork, exercises, pre-conditioning your body for tournaments and everything related to table tennis regularly.” Denethi Wijegunawardana, President, Ohio State University Table Tennis Club

Volunteer Coach of the Year - Joe Ciarrochi (first year recipient)

Joe Ciarrochi"I am both flattered and honored to receive this award. It's very rewarding to me to have a part in helping this sport grow in northeast Ohio." Joe Ciarrochi

“I wish there were more Coach Joe’s in the sport. From the time a player first walks into the club to the minute they leave, Coach Joe is welcoming, friendly, and always eager to give free advice. His liveliness has been transformative for the club. Coach Joe is the best entertainer, volunteer, and promoter of the sport that Ohio has ever seen.” Samson Dubina, Owner and Head Coach, Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy




About USA Table Tennis
USA Table Tennis is organized under the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of table tennis in the United States. As a member service organization it promotes table tennis by creating opportunities for athletes and coaches of all backgrounds to participate in the sport through more than 250 clubs and over 350 tournaments across the nation annually. USA Table Tennis is a member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), and is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Pan American and Olympic Games.