US SAILING Honors Top Coaches

Four coaches get commended for their hard work in 2006

US SAILING's Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) recognizes four outstanding sailing coaches for the 2006 Coaches of the Year Awards. The awards are a part of the United States Olympic Committee's Coach Recognition Program, which highlights the accomplishments and contributions of coaches who train athletes at all levels of sport. The OSC has nominated sailing coaches to the USOC in four categories: National Coach of the Year, Developmental Coach of the Year, Volunteer Coach of the Year, and the "Doc" Counsilman Science Award. National Coach: Zachary Leonard As a former college All-American, Yale captain, and national champion sailor and coach, Zachary Leonard (Branford, Conn.) uses his own experiences and expertise to help young and collegiate sailors achieve their goals, in both college and Olympic sailing. As the coach of the Yale University Sailing Team, Leonard has brought the team to a new, elite level this year. Under his guidance, the women's sailing team was named number one in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association ranking this fall. His sailors have also secured three of the top five places in the women's 2005 single-handed national championships. Leonard personally understands that the path to the Olympics can take many different twists and turns, and he uses his own experiences to guide young sailors achieve at this world-class, elite level. Leonard's achievements with the Yale sailing program, paired with his encouragement and support of Olympic aspirants make him an ideal nominee. Previous winners of sailing's National Coach of the Year Award are Rollin "Skip" Whyte (Wickford, R.I.), 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.). Volunteer Coach: Ryan HammAs a volunteer sailing coach for the James Island Charter High School, Ryan Hamm (Charleston, S.C.) has two mantras: Practice hard and have fun. As a result, his team has reaped the benefits of his guidance as a coach and as a mentor. Hamm has worked tirelessly to gain recognition for his team-a team that received club-level status merely two years ago. Since then, they have already made impressive strides by finishing fourth in the South Atlantic district's North Points Championship. As a coach, mentor and friend, Hamm constantly reminds the team how hard work can provide great results, and how far they have come as a team. Previous winners of sailing's Volunteer Coach of the Year Award are Susan Kaseler (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) and T. Park McRitchie (Port Clinton, Ohio). Developmental Coach: Duffy MarkhamAs the sailing director at Corpus Christi YC in Corpus Christi, Texas, Duffy Markham (Wellesley, Mass.) actively promotes the development of sailing skills for people of all ages and ability levels. In 2006, she created a flourishing Texas A&M Corpus Christi sailing team, an active youth and adult Learn to Sail program and expanded a current Sea Scout program. At the same time, she continued coaching and developing a race team of Lasers, 420s, and Green fleet and top-ranked Optimist racers. As the head coach of the Junior Race Team, four of her team of six Optimist sailors qualified for and competed in the United States Optimist Dinghy Association Team Trials. Duffy also coaches an Optimist sailor on the Optimist U.S. National Team and two sailors on the U.S. National Development Team. In addition, Duffy continually works to promote her fledgling Laser and 420 teams, encouraging sailors to switch boats to keep racing, while recruiting new sailors to crew for the more experienced sailors. She also collaborates with national coaches to promote opportunities for her sailors outside the local program. Previous winners of sailing's Developmental Coach of the Year Award are 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.). "Doc" Counsilman Science Award: Roger "Scott" IkleRoger "Scott" Ikle (Geneva, N.Y.) has been at the forefront of utilizing science and health to augment sailors' overall athleticism and racing ability. From weight training and cardiovascular workouts to developing nutritional programs that help athletes reach their peak performance, Scott helps athletes reach new athletic levels. He educates athletes on the direct correlation between physical conditioning and positive self esteem, which provides a better opportunity for success. During his 14-year tenure as the Head Coach at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, N.Y.), Scott has coached at 27 Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Championships with 11 top-three finishes, including 2005 Team Race and Coed Dinghy Titles. Scott has also helped to produce 38 All-American Sailors. After serving as Head Coach for two Pan American Games, he will be the Team Leader at the 2007 Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This is the first year the OSC will nominate a coach for this award. The USOC will announce their shortlist of nominees at the end of March, and will announce the winners at an event in Washington, D.C. in May. The goals of the USOC's Coaching Recognition Program are to recognize the accomplishments and contributions coaches make to sports at all levels of athlete development and to elevate the status of coaching as a profession.