The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Tuesday (June 19) that U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe coach Rick Bower was named the USOC’s 2011 Olympic Coach of the Year at the National Coaching Conference at the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.
Bower, the 1999 halfpipe World Champion, is in his sixth year of coaching and credited with playing a key role in the progression of women’s snowboarding. In 2011, he led his athletes to 31 major event podiums.
“I am incredibly honored to be a finalist for the USOC Coach of the Year award,” said Bower after learning of his nomination. “I feel this nomination speaks for the overall progress of the sport of halfpipe snowboarding and I feel very fortunate to be a part of that progression.”
U.S. Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American sports organizations selected their 2011 Coaches of the Year as part of the USOC Coach of the Year Recognition Program. A panel of coaching and sport education professionals chose the finalists in each category.
“Our U.S. Snowboarding athletes make my job easy – they are all so internally motivated, and on such a high level of performance collectively, that they are able to continually push each other to achieve athletic success,” continued Bower. “This dynamic is equally fun to be a part of seeing as most of these athletes are great friends on and off the snow as well as being each other’s top competition.”
Under Bower’s leadership, U.S. Snowboarding riders have set the pace for the sport including Kelly Clark who became the first woman to land a 1080 in competition – inspiring a new generation of athletes. U.S. Snowboarding riders have won 12 of 18 Olympic halfpipe medals in the last three Olympics including four of six gold medals.
“Rick Bower is a great example of how a coach’s leadership applied to athletes can be a major difference maker in athletic success,” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. “Rick’s vision along with his ability to create a team environment, apply technical knowledge and to communicate has led to success not only from athletes like Olympic champion Kelly Clark but from an entire team. As an organization, our investment in coaches like Rick has been a real game changer across all of our sports.”
Bower is the third U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach in ten years to win the Olympic Coach of the Year honors. Pete del’Giudice was named in 2002, Bud Keene in 2006.
PAST USOC OLYMPIC COACHES OF YEAR
1996 Tara VanDerveer, U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Coach
1997 Frank Carroll, Olympic Figure Skating Coach, Coach of Michelle Kwan
1998 Ben Smith, U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Coach
1999 Chris Carmichael, Cycling Coach, Coach of Lance Armstrong
2000 Richard Quick, U.S. Olympic Women’s Swimming Coach
2001/02 Pete del’Giudice, U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach
2003 Lloyd Woodhouse, USA Shooting National Team Coach
2004 Mike Candrea, USA Softball Women’s National Team Coach
2005 Eddie Reese, USA Swimming Men’s National Team Coach
2006 Bud Keene, U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach
2007 Guy Baker, USA Water Polo National Team Coach
2008 Hugh McCutcheon, USA Men’s Volleyball National Team Coach
2009 Bob Bradley, U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Coach
2010 Brian Shimer, U.S. Men’s Bobsled Head Coach
2011 Rick Bower, U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach
2011 USOC COACH OF YEAR RECIPIENTS
Olympic Coach of the Year: Rick Bower, U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach
Paralympic Coach of the Year: Dave Denniston, U.S. Paralympic Swimming Coach
Development Coach of the Year: James Hrbek, USA Judo
Volunteer Coach of the Year: Tom Waga, Brigham Young University Rugby Coach
Doc Counsilman Science Award: Neil Henderson, USA Cycling