AUSTIN, Texas — Ten coaches, race directors and leaders in the multisport community were honored last week with the 2022 USA Triathlon Coach of the Year, 2022 Heart of the Race Director and 2022 Service to the Sport Awards at Endurance Exchange Presented by BOA, USA Triathlon’s annual industry conference held Jan. 23-26 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.
Service to the Sport Award – Mike Reilly (San Diego, Calif.)
The longtime IRONMAN race announcer, Reilly was honored with the inaugural Service to the Sport Award, given to a leader in the multisport community who has a passion for serving the sport.
The “Voice of IRONMAN,” Reilly recently retired from his 33-year career announcing IRONMAN events. During his career, Reilly announced at more than 1,000 endurance races, including more than 200 IRONMAN races and 33 IRONMAN World Championships. A beloved figure in the multisport community, Reilly greeted more than 350,000 IRONMAN finishers with his iconic call of "You are an IRONMAN!"
Reilly is a member of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, IRONMAN Hall of Fame and Running USA Hall of Champions – the only person to be inducted into all three.
2022 Heart of the Race Director Awards
The inaugural Heart of the Race Director awards were presented in three categories, innovation, inclusion and collaboration. The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in the USA Triathlon race director community. Through their vision, commitment to multisport sport and their communities, these three race directors have gone above and beyond in their service to the sport.
Innovation Award: Gabriela Gallegos (El Paso, Texas)
Gallegos was honored with the Innovation Award, given to a race director who has broken the mold and boldly embraced new technology, new race formats and programming to push the boundaries of the sport of triathlon.
President and founder of Race El Paso, Gallegos was awarded the Innovation Award for her work broadcasting her event, the all-female Mighty Mujer Triathlon El Paso, live on El Paso’s NBC affiliate station with a full production. The live broadcast of the race exposed the Saturday morning television audience in the El Paso-Las Cruces-Juarez market to the sport of triathlon. The live broadcast also had significant reach through simultaneous Facebook streaming on the news channel’s page.
Gallegos is a USA Triathlon Certified Race Director who founded Race El Paso in 2009. Race El Paso offers six annual running and multisport events, including the all-female Mighty Mujer Triathlon, which in 2018 expanded into a series with races in El Paso, Tucson, Miami and Austin. The event has introduced thousands of women to their first triathlon and has served as a gateway for active living and ongoing participation in multisport events of all distances.
Gallegos currently serves on the USA Triathlon Board of Directors and the Executive Boards for World Triathlon and Americas Triathlon. Gallegos is also an attorney and associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health.
Inclusivity Award: Julie Marchese (Foreside, Maine)
Marchese was awarded the Inclusivity Award, which represents a race director who is a leader in the development of inclusive race opportunities at their events.
Marchese is the founder and race director of the Tri for a Cure in Portland, Maine, the state’s only all-women’s triathlon. The race annually brings together 1,300 women and has raised more than $20 million for the Maine Cancer Foundation, which is distributed to Maine communities for cancer prevention, early detection and access to care. The race offers a unique opportunity for women to engage in the fight against cancer in Maine. Some are cancer survivors, others are racing in support of their loved ones, and all of them share the desire to create a cancer-free Maine. Marchese is also a cancer survivor.
Collaboration Award: Michael O’Neil (Boston, Mass.)
O’Neil was awarded the Collaboration Award, honoring a race director who has created an environment of collaboration between their event and local organizations, brands, sponsors, clubs and to help serve their local communities and tackle local issues.
The race director of the Boston Triathlon, O’Neil created a multi-agency community partnership between his event, and title sponsor Columbia Threadneedle, with the City of Boston, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the USA Triathlon Foundation. O’Neil was able to raise awareness of and financial support for the city’s Swim Safely partnership — an initiative which offered free swim lessons for children and adults, free training for lifeguards and free swimming lessons for students at Boston Public Schools.
Through those efforts, nearly 1,000 kids were able to receive free swim lessons in 2021 and 2022. Kids who were enrolled in the swimming program were invited to attend the Splash & Dash event at no cost the day before the Boston Triathlon.
2022 Coach of the Year Awards
Olympic Coach of the Year: Parker Spencer (Tempe, Arizona)
Spencer, USA Triathlon’s Project Podium Coach and USA Triathlon’s High Performance Development Senior Manager, was named the Olympic Coach of the Year, given to the coach of a national-level team, or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of his/her sport.
Spencer leads Project Podium, USA Triathlon’s men’s elite development program based at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. This program is designed to further develop top young male USA Triathlon Elite athletes with the goal of helping them achieve medal performances in the Olympic Games. The program enables college-aged triathletes with elite competitive potential to train in a daily high-performance environment while earning an undergraduate degree at ASU through its esteemed online program or on the Tempe residential campus.
Spencer is a USA Triathlon Level III Certified Coach and Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Before his position at USA Triathlon Spencer was the head coach of the men’s swimming and diving, men and women’s cycling and men and women’s triathlon teams at Liberty University.
Paralympic Coach of the Year: Mark Sortino (Boise, Idaho)
Sortino earned the Paralympic Coach of the Year, given to a coach of a national-level team, or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of his/her sport.
A coach for Team USA Elite Paratriathlon since 2012, Sortino is a USA Triathlon Level III Certified Coach, Paratriathlon Level II Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level II Certified Coach, F.I.S.T. certified bike fitter and USA Triathlon Certified Race Director. Sortino was the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon Team head coach at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and assistant coach for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Sortino was also named Paralympic Coach of the Year in 2016 and coached 2015 ESPY winner and Paralympian Krige Schabort. A U.S. Navy veteran, Sortino served 20 years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is a 16-IRONMAN and three-time Kona finisher and multiple-time Leadville Trail 100 MTB finisher.
Developmental Coach of the Year: Lisa Marshall (Alpharetta, Georgia)
Marshall earned the Development Coach of the Year award, which honors a coach at the youth club, high school or junior level, or a coach who is directly responsible for training athletes to reach the junior and/or elite level.
The CEO and head coach of Multisport Explosion which she founded in 2011, Marshall is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Youth and Junior Coach with more than 12 years’ experience. Multisport Explosion offers the following teams and services: youth developmental team, emerging elite team, Youth and Junior Elite High-Performance teams, North Georgia Regional High School team, Elite Adult team, Adult Club team and one on one personalized coaching.
College Coach of the Year: Amy Maxwell (Stony Point, N.Y)
Maxwell was named the College Coach of the Year, given to a coach at the NCAA level. Maxwell has been the head coach of the West Point Triathlon team for seven years and is the Northeast Collegiate Club Co-Commissioner for USA Triathlon. She is also the founder of Roots Racing Triathlon team.
Coach Educator of the Year: Maria Simone (Conifer, Colo.)
Simone was named the Coach Educator of the Year, which honors a USA Triathlon Certified Coach who has a significant impact on fellow coaches’ education and continues to be a lifelong learner.
The owner and head coach of No Limits Endurance Coaching, Simone is a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach and a key member of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Committee. Simone holds a doctorate in mass media and communications from Temple University and began her career in academia as an associate professor at Rowan university in New Jersey.
Simone has written 17 publications about the sport and training, including “The Effect of Age on Run Training and Performance,” “The Physiology and the Psychology of the Female Athlete Triad” and “Do I Have to Take a Rest Day?”
Community Impact Award: Tove Shere (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
Shere earned the Community Impact Award, which is given to a coach who has demonstrated significant impact in their community and epitomizes the USA Triathlon mission of growing and inspiring the triathlon community.
A USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and a member of the coaching team for Bolton Endurance, Shere is awarded the community impact award for her work with the Cleveland-based Kids that Tri Cleveland. Kids That Tri Cleveland (KTT) is a non-profit organization, which creates a pathway for student-athletes in grades 6-12 to learn to swim, bike, and run with the goal of completing at least one or more triathlons. KTT provides youth in Cleveland access to skill-building, equipment and competitive coaching — inspiring confidence and creating a solid foundation for a healthy and active multisport lifestyle at no cost to the athlete. This program prioritizes supporting youth who may not otherwise experience sport inside or outside of school.
Athletes can find USA Triathlon Certified Coaches through the Find a Coach tool at member.usatriathlon.org/coaches. Those who are interested in becoming a USA Triathlon Certified Coach can learn more at usatriathlon.org or reach out to email@example.com.
About USA Triathlon Coaching Certification
USA Triathlon provides its certified coaches unparalleled resources to ensure they are qualified, confident and successful throughout their coaching career. The coaching education department develops prospective coaches, cultivates the need for coaches within the multisport community and assists coaches in turning their passions into vocations. Certification provides standards of quality and credibility in the marketplace, and helps coaches turn a passion into a career through paid opportunities, entrepreneurship education, and marketing and communication support.
About USA Triathlon Race Director Certification
USA Triathlon Certified Race Directors have completed a 16-hour educational training class. This course includes information on the latest in race directing methods, insurance/risk management trends, and USA Triathlon sanctioning compliance. While the certification course is not mandatory for race directors who sanction their events with USA Triathlon, the program is valuable to both new and seasoned event directors. Completing the Race Director Certification course shows that an event director is mindful of keeping in touch with the latest industry trends that will in turn allow better events to be produced. The program is designed for the seasoned event director as well as those who are new to the industry. To learn more about USA Triathlon Race Director Certification visit USA Triathlon’s education platform at TriathlonLearning.com.