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US SAILING Recognizes 2009's Outstanding Sailing Coaches

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

US SAILING Recognizes 2009’s Outstanding Sailing Coaches

Portsmouth, R.I. (December 16, 2009) – US SAILING’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has chosen three exemplary sailing coaches for the 2009 Coaches of the Year Awards. Based on nominations from the public, the OSC has named Mark Ivey (Tiburon, Calif.) the National Coach of the Year, Ryan Minth (New York, N.Y.) the Developmental Coach of the Year, and Greg Koman (Burlington, Vt.) the Volunteer Coach of the Year. These three winners exhibited extraordinary dedication to the sport of sailing and made an impact on the sailors they coached in 2009.

The OSC has also nominated these winners to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for consideration for the 2009 Coaches of the Year Awards across all Olympic and Paralympic sports. The awards are a part of the USOC Coach Recognition Program, which highlights the accomplishments and contributions of coaches who train athletes at all levels of sailing.

US SAILING’s 2009 National Coach of the Year: Mark Ivey
Ivey coached several Olympic class sailors to achieve remarkable results this year at elite international events, including International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup events and an Olympic class world championship. At the 2009 Star World Championship in Varberg, Sweden, Ivey coached US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members George Szabo (San Diego, Calif.) and Rick Peters (Venice, Calif.), who won a gold medal, as well as three other teams who finished in the top 15. Szabo and Peters climbed their way to the top of the fleet, after finishing 54th out of 86 boats in the first race, to become the new Star World Champions. Ivey also coached Star sailors Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Mark Strube (West Palm Beach, Fla.), who won a gold medal at Kiel Week in Kiel, Germany. At another ISAF Sailing World Cup event, the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, The Netherlands, Ivey coached USSTAG members Erin Maxwell (Stonington, Conn.) and Isabelle Kinsolving (New York, N.Y.), who won a bronze medal in the Women's 470.

As an elite, sought-after coach for several Olympic classes, Ivey is known for facilitating multiple American teams to work together in order to ultimately beat top international competition. At many of these events, he pushed sailors to work together in a team-like atmosphere to share local weather, wind and current data and simulate race techniques. He also implemented a disciplined pre-race schedule, including an open discussion for the top sailors to analyze conditions and competition.

“Mark did an exceptional job to re-focus sailors’ daily efforts on the small things that make a big difference overall,” said Szabo. “Simple things like: getting out to the race course early, reviewing weather and clouds before races, and helping us find better ways to get off the starting line. When added together, the details added up to make a big difference.”

Previous winners of sailing’s National Coach of the Year Award are Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.), 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 2009 Developmental Coach of the Year: Ryan Minth
In a short six-month time span, Minth coached a team of young, unknown Texas sailors to become top-ranked North American Laser Class Grand Prix sailors in the Laser, Laser Radial and 4.7. In February, Minth began coaching the first-ever team of young Laser sailors at the Gulf Coast Youth Sailing Association (GCYSA), developing a training program that fit the varying ages, abilities and experience of the sailors. Since then, the team members have competed against the best Laser sailors in the United States at major national regattas, including the Laser National Championship, Laser North American Championship and several regional Laser events. At the Laser North American Championship in June, three team members finished in the top 10; at the Laser National Championship in August, all five team members finished in the top 19 with two Laser Radial sailors in the top 10 and the Laser 4.7 sailor finishing second.

Minth’s expertise of developing high performance sailors can be attributed to his own success as a competitive sailor – he was on the 2005 US Sailing Team in the Laser -- and coaching a variety of classes, ages and abilities. He also stresses the importance of working with several coaches to provide different perspectives and expertise to the team, so each athlete can develop his or her own style and build on their strengths.

“Ryan’s coaching style encourages hard work, physical fitness and consistent regatta preparation,” said GCYSA President Edmund Martinez. “Ryan’s coaching philosophy encourages sailors to look at the Big Picture of sailing – to try sailing different boats, to work with different coaches and to think beyond your next regatta. His passion for the sport of sailing and his dedication to developing young people into exceptionally competent physically fit sailors as well as exemplary sportsmen make him an excellent choice for this honor. This year’s sailing results are a testament to his coaching abilities. Our sailors’ loyalty to him and their growing confidence is a testament to his leadership.”

Previous winners of sailing’s Developmental Coach of the Year Award are Brett Davis (Naples, Fla.), 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 2009 Volunteer Coach of the Year: Greg Koman
When Koman first joined the University of Vermont Sailing Team as the assistant coach in the fall of 2007, he knew the team was up-and-coming and had the potential and talent to take off – and it did. An invaluable asset to the UVM team, Koman, a volunteer, strives to run efficient practices with two coaches and coach boats, allowing the team to focus on upwind, downwind and starting line drills in smaller groups. As a result, this customized and efficient coaching process has had a direct impact on the team and has translated into results. In 2009, the team finished the fall season ranked eighth in the United States and fifth in New England’s collegiate performance rankings. Also thanks to Koman, UVM’s women’s sailing team, which is primarily comprised of young, developing sailors, returned to prominence this fall when they received national recognition in the collegiate rankings.

“Greg's presence on the team is directly responsible for our success as a team as well my personal success during my time sailing in college,” said Clinton Hayes (East Haddam, Conn.), the captain of the UVM Sailing Team.
Koman has a genuine passion for the sport of sailing and working with sailors of all ages. While assistant coaching the UVM Sailing Team, Greg also teaches in the Burlington, Vt. school district. During the summers, Koman works for Sail Caribbean and helps captain a ship for kids of all ages on summer camp vacations.

Previous winners of sailing’s Volunteer Coach of the Year Award are Carrie Rohde (Richmond Hill, Ga.), 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. The winners of the USOC’s coaching awards across all sports will be honored at the 2009 National Coaching Educators’ Conference in Savannah, Ga., on June 17, 2010.

About the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics
The US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) is managed by the United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. The top 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 Watch USA, Atlantis WeatherGear, Sperry Top-Sider, LaserPerformance, Harken, Team McLube, Bow Down Training, New England Ropes and Group Experiential Learning. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 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: www.ussailing.org. For more information about the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, please visit: http://sailingteams.ussailing.org.

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