From left: Paulo Sousa, Mark Sortino and Ian O'Brien.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its 2016 Coaches of the Year, awarded to Paulo Sousa, Mark Sortino and Ian O’Brien for their accomplishments in coaching national team athletes, paratriathletes and developmental athletes respectively.
National Coach of the Year Sousa (Poway, Calif.) is the head coach of The Triathlon Squad, a high-performance training group of nine professional triathletes. Sousa had a fantastic 2016 that included coaching two members of the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team, Joe Maloy and Greg Billington. He also coached one international Olympian, Manuel Huerta of Puerto Rico, and U.S. National Team member Summer Cook, who earned her first ITU World Triathlon Series win last year in Edmonton, Alberta.
Sousa’s athletes earned two additional WTS top-10 finishes and eight ITU Triathlon World Cup podiums, as well as 18 IRONMAN 70.3 podiums, an IRONMAN podium and a third-place finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to receive this award,” Sousa said. “All credit goes to the hard work and commitment the athletes I coach show every single day.”
Sortino (Boise, Idaho), who was named Paratriathlon Coach of the Year, coached the first-ever U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team in the sport’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Sortino was also the personal coach of three 2016 Paralympians in Mark Barr, Hailey Danz and Krige Schabort. Danz earned a Paralympic silver medal in Rio as part of a U.S. women’s podium sweep in the PT2 division. Barr, who placed fourth in the men’s PT2 division in Rio, was named 2016 USA Triathlon Men’s Paratriathlete of the Year earlier this week.
“Coaching is a journey toward the perfect combination of challenge, knowledge, open-mindedness and joy,” Sortino said. “Thanks to all the athletes and coaches who continue to teach me so much!
O’Brien (Boulder, Colo.) was named Developmental Coach of the Year for his accomplishments in coaching up-and-coming triathletes at the elite and junior elite levels. O’Brien coached Taylor Knibb to a gold medal at the 2016 ITU Junior World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico, as well as her first senior-level world cup medal, a bronze at the Montreal ITU Triathlon World Cup. Knibb was named USA Triathlon Junior Elite Triathlete of the Year and Rookie of the Year earlier this week.
O’Brien also coaches Eli Hemming, who was named USA Triathlon U23 Triathlete of the Year earlier this week. Hemming was the 2016 USA Triathlon Elite Sprint National Champion and placed 13th at the 2016 ITU U23 World Championships.
“It’s a great surprise to receive this recognition, especially as the United States holds an amazing collective of coaches,” O’Brien said. “I have been extremely lucky, and I owe much of my success to having coached some of the most experienced U.S. athletes as well as some of the brightest.”
USA Triathlon named its full roster of Athletes of the Year — including Age-Group Triathletes, Duathletes, Elites and Junior Elites — earlier this week. The full roster of USA Triathlon Athletes of the Year is available at usatriathlon.org.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).