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Contact: Marni Lane, US SAILING, marnilane@ussailing.org              617-671-8332        

US SAILING Recognizes 2008’s Outstanding Sailing Coaches

Portsmouth, R.I. (January 20, 2009) – US SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has chosen three outstanding sailing coaches for the 2008 Coaches of the Year Awards. The awards are a part of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Coach Recognition Program, which highlights the accomplishments and contributions of coaches who train athletes at all levels of sailing. Based on nominations from the public, the OSC has named Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) as National Coach of the Year, Brett Davis (Naples, Fla.) as Developmental Coach of the Year and Carrie Rohde (Richmond Hill, Ga.) as Volunteer Coach of the Year. These three winners showed extraordinary dedication to the sport of sailing in 2008.

The OSC has also nominated these winners to the USOC for consideration for the 2008 Coaches of the Year Awards across all Olympic and Paralympic sports.

US SAILING’s 2008 National Coach of the Year: Betsy Alison
As Head Coach of the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Team, Betsy Alison was the driving force behind the team’s gold and bronze medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Qingdao, China. All first-time Paralympians, the U.S. delegation was a force to be reckoned with: SKUD-18 sailors Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (Marblehead, Mass.) clinched the gold medal a day early, with two races to go. 2.4 mR sailor John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.), a relative underdog going into the Games, sailed the best regatta of his career and brought home the bronze. She was also the team coach for the Sonar boat of Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.), Tim Angle (Marblehead, Mass.) and Bill Donohue (Brick, N.J.), who won the C. Thomas Clagett Memorial Regatta and the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, before competing at the 2008 Paralympic Games. In addition to being the Head Coach of the 2008 Paralympic Team, she created and manages the entire Paralympic Sailing Program -- from the budget to shipping to training and development. She has been instrumental in building one of the most successful and elite Paralympic sailing programs in the world. A driven and inspiring coach, Alison helps athletes raise their game and reach their top performance.

Previous winners of sailing’s National Coach of the Year Award are Bill Ward (Newport Beach, Calif.), Zachary Leonard (Branford, CT), Rollin “Skip” Whyte (Wickford, R.I.), Roger “Scott” Ikle (Geneva, N.Y.), Serge Jorgensen (Sarasota, Fla.), Jay Glaser (Long Beach, Calif.), Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) and Luther Carpenter (New Orleans, La.).

US SAILING’s 2008 Developmental Coach of the Year: Brett Davis
Brett Davis’ specialty is coaching elite-level youths and Olympic-caliber sailors who are highly motivated and goal-oriented. He is known for his patient yet productive and skillful coaching style, which is crucial for developing sailors, both on and off the water. An excellent role model to the young sailors he coaches, he constantly finds lessons in success and motivates athletes back from moments of defeat. Davis makes every race a learning opportunity -- both about sailing and about determination. In 2008, Davis was the coach of the Laser and Laser Radial sailors on the 2008 U.S. Youth Worlds Team, an elite team of sailors aged 18 and under. Under Davis’ coaching, Luke Lawrence (Palm City, Fla.) captured a silver medal in a Laser fleet of 45 boats and Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.) finished ninth out of 40 Laser Radial boats at the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Arhus, Denmark. He also coached the US SAILING team that competed in the Laser Radial Youth Words in New Zealand, among many high school, national and international events.

Previous winners of sailing’s Developmental Coach of the Year Award are Ben Glass (Seattle, Wash.), Duffy Markham (Wellesley, Mass.), Tom Coleman (Hixson, Tenn.), Rob Hallawell (Marblehead, Mass./Coronado, Calif.), Brian Doyle (Darien, Conn./Hanover, N.H.), Amy Gross-Kehoe (Bayville, N.Y.), Adam Werblow (St. Mary's, Md.) and Mike Zani (Bristol, R.I.).

US SAILING’s 2008 Volunteer Coach of the Year: Carrie Rohde
Carrie Rohde has made a huge difference to the sport of sailing by turning people who have never sailed before into passionate competitors. Thanks to Rohde, sailing has become the most popular sports team at Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, Ga., where sailing didn’t even exist a few years ago. She made it fun and competitive for high school students, no matter what their skill level. Also, as an active volunteer of the Savannah Sailing Center, Rodhe encourages public school children from a rural community to sail, finding inexpensive ways to get them on the water. As a result, sailing is thriving in an area that would otherwise be a fishing community. “She is building something for nothing at a time in our sport [when] we are having a harder time keeping high school kids involved and getting the needed funds,” said Ryan Hamm (Charleston, S.C.), a previous recipient of this award.

Previous winners of sailing’s Volunteer Coach of the Year Award are Matt Dubois (Grosse Ile, Mich.), Ryan Hamm (Charleston, S.C.), Susan Kaseler (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) and T. Park McRitchie (Port Clinton, Ohio).
The goals of the USOC’s Coaching Recognition Program are to recognize the tremendous accomplishments and contributions coaches make to sports at all levels of athlete development and to elevate the status of coaching as a profession.

About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics and US SAILING
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic class are selected annually to be members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. US SAILING supports these elite athletes with funding, coaching and training. The title sponsor of the team is AlphaGraphics; other sponsors include Rolex, LaserPerformance, Harken and Team McLube. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING provides leadership for the sport of sailing in the United States. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country. For more information about US SAILING, please visit: ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: olympics.ussailing.org.

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