Media Press Release

U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee honors coaches and support staff of the year for 2023


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced its annual award recipients for eight coaches and support staff of the year for 2023. The recipients include four winter and four summer coaches that span five different sports.  

The award recipients include Jenni Meno-Sand as Olympic Coach of the Year and Ellen Minzner as Paralympic Coach of the Year. The summer award recipients include Richard Guy Krueger as Coach Educator of the Year, Todd DeSorbo as College Coach of the Year and Dr. Robert Park as Developmental Coach of the Year. The winter award recipients include Garrett Lucash as the Doc Counsilman of the Year, Dr. Caroline Silby as Service Provider of the Year and Patrick Wentland as Volunteer Coach of the Year.   

“Our coaches and support staff are the backbone of Team USA, driving success from the grassroots level to the global stage,” said Rocky Harris, USOPC chief of sport and athlete services. “Their tireless efforts continue to elevate our athletes, their National Governing Bodies, and Team USA as a whole. As we applaud the remarkable accomplishments of 2023, we gratefully commend all eight individual award winners and their steadfast dedication to excellence in and around their sport.”  

National Governing Bodies nominated their 2023 coaches as part of the USOPC Coach of the Year Recognition Program, and the winners were then determined by a USOPC selection panel. The USOPC Coach of the Year Recognition Program aims to recognize and award the work of quality coaches and providers that are creating significant impact in their sport and NGB throughout the year.  


Olympic Coach of the Year – Jenni Meno-Sand (U.S. Figure Skating) 

Jenni Meno-Sand, an American figure skating icon, transitioned seamlessly from a decorated career as an athlete to an esteemed coach, embodying resilience and dedication. As a competitor, she amassed three U.S. national titles, three world championship medals, and competed in three Olympic Winter Games. Her coaching philosophy mirrors her own journey, emphasizing focus, hard work, and encouragement to her skaters, regardless of their level. Under her guidance, she produced multiple national and world championship medalists and Olympic champions. In 2023, Meno-Sand guided her pairs skaters to remarkable success, including securing the silver medal at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships, winning the Junior World Championships, earning bronze at Skate America and dominating the U.S. Championships. Despite facing adversity when her husband, who was also her skating and coaching partner, suffered a major heart attack leading to a brain injury, Meno-Sand remained steadfast, balancing his recovery with her coaching commitments. Her dedication to her athletes' success, coupled with her genuine care and mentorship on and off the ice, exemplifies her as a model for the true meaning of sport.  


Paralympic Coach of the Year – Ellen Minzner (U.S. Rowing) 

For over a decade, Ellen Minzner has been a driving force in the realm of Para rowing, leading athletes to remarkable achievements on the global stage. As USRowing’s Director of Para High Performance since 2019, Ellen's leadership has been instrumental in the team's success. Under her guidance, the PR3 mixed four with coxswain has consistently reached the medal podium, winning silver medals at both the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. In 2023, Ellen oversaw the performance of the PR3 mixed four with coxswain and PR3 mixed double sculls crews, both securing silver medals and qualifying for the Paralympic Games Paris 2024. Over the past two years, Ellen has created a more robust system of Para talent identification and development, which was key to the success of the 2023 squad. Prior to her role with USRowing, Ellen spent more than 10 years with Community Rowing in Boston, where she spearheaded initiatives for inclusion and advocacy for people with disabilities, military veterans and underserved youths, leaving a lasting impact on the sport at a national level. Ellen's passion and adherence continues to drive progress and success within Para rowing programs across the United States.  


Developmental Coach of the Year - Dr. Robert Park (USA Archery) 

In the five years since the establishment of the Asheville Archery Training Center (AATC), Dr. Robert Park has exhibited steadfast dedication to excellence, employing various strategies to foster athlete development and success. Dr. Park had all nine of his AATC participants at the Junior Olympic Archery Development Nationals advance to the elimination round, and at the Harrisonburg Regional Nationals, 10 out of 12 AATC archers placed in the top 10 of their divisions, with eight earning regional medals. Throughout 2023, AATC amassed an impressive total of 37 medals across state and regional tournaments, including 12 gold, 17 silver and eight bronze medals. Coach Park devotes over 12 hours per week to personalized instruction for his archers, providing detailed feedback and equipment adjustments. His emphasis on nutrition, creating a supportive community, and personalized routines underscores his athlete-centered coaching philosophy, promoting both physical and mental well-being. Dr. Park's impact transcends the range, exemplified by the cohesive team culture and enduring achievements of his athletes.  


College Coach of the Year – Todd Desorbo (USA Swimming) 

Todd DeSorbo's leadership has propelled the University of Virginia swim program to unprecedented success, with UVA making history as the first program in ACC history to claim an NCAA title in 2021. Under his guidance, Virginia's women's team achieved four-consecutive NCAA Championships from 2021-2024, while the men have finished in the top 10 for three consecutive years. In 2023, his coaching skills were further exemplified as UVA senior Kate Douglass clinched the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Women's Swimmer of the Meet title, winning all three individual events and contributing to four of UVA's five relay NCAA championships. With four consecutive NCAA titles, UVA became just the third program in history to achieve this milestone. His coaching philosophy, which emphasizes holistic training encompassing physical, mental, and lifestyle aspects, has earned him the head coach position for USA Swimming's Olympic women's swimming team at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. His unique approach, characterized by a balance of hard work, enjoyment, and support, has fostered a team culture where athletes feel empowered and motivated, contributing to both individual and team successes.  


Volunteer Coach of the Year – Patrick Wentland (U.S. Speedskating) 

Patrick Wentland's impact as a volunteer coach extends far beyond the ice rink, as he commits countless hours to nurturing the speed skaters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Through his deep understanding of youth athletic development, Patrick has transformed the Colorado Gold club, encouraging skaters to explore both short track and long track disciplines to support their overall growth. He has meticulously crafted a comprehensive training program, offering skaters the flexibility to pursue their competitive aspirations while emphasizing the importance of mental resilience and wellness. Patrick's personalized approach extends to each individual skater, collaborating closely on tailored training programs and fostering both physical and mental strength. Under his guidance, Colorado Gold has seen a surge in junior skaters qualifying for national-level competitions, a testament to Patrick's commitment to their success. Beyond skating, Patrick prioritizes personal and social development, fostering a supportive team environment and encouraging skaters to explore diverse interests. His devotion to continuous learning and collaboration with other coaches ensures that his athletes receive the best possible guidance and support.   


Service Provider of the Year – Dr. Caroline Silby (U.S. Figure Skating) 

Dr. Caroline Silby’s, Ph.D., CMPC, exceptional dedication and unwavering support have made her an invaluable asset to the U.S. Figure Skating High-Performance Team, guiding athletes towards success both on and off the ice. Known for her compassionate approach, she prioritizes the well-being of athletes, earning the admiration and trust of countless Team USA members. Through individual consultations and group workshops, Caroline equips athletes, coaches and parents with essential psychological and emotional skills, advancing personal empowerment and mental resilience. Her proactive efforts extend to event coverage at competitions, ensuring real-time support for athletes' mental performance and mental wellness needs. Additionally, Caroline's leadership is evident in her role in developing comprehensive mental health action plans and operationalizing sports psychology practices within U.S. Figure Skating. Her impact transcends mere performance enhancement, as testified by athletes who credit her guidance with their success and well-being.   


Coach Educator of the Year – Richard Guy Krueger (USA Archery/Para-Archery) 

Richard Guy Krueger's transformative contributions to coach education in archery have reshaped the landscape of USA Archery's educational initiatives, setting new standards for innovation and effectiveness. Through his commitment to evidence-based practice and experiential learning, Guy has revolutionized USA Archery's upper-level coach courses, infusing them with elements of quality coaching frameworks and athlete-centered approaches. In 2023, he spearheaded initiatives such as the USA Archery Virtual Symposium, the Coaches Workshop, and certification courses, showcasing his passion for advancing coach education on a global scale. The Virtual Symposium, with its diverse array of participants from around the world, served as a testament to Guy's commitment to accessibility and inclusivity in education. Moreover, the Coaches Workshop, designed to provide hands-on learning experiences, attracted over 40 participants, demonstrating its effectiveness in equipping coaches with practical skills. Krueger’s leadership in the Level 4-NTS Coach Course, characterized by its rigorous curriculum and international participation, illuminates his role in cultivating a new generation of highly skilled and knowledgeable archery coaches.  


Doc Counsilman Science & Technology Award – Garrett Lucash (U.S. Figure Skating)  

Garrett Lucash's profound impact on figure skating coaching has been characterized by his commitment to athlete-centered principles and innovative integration of sports science research. As the co-creator and director of Athlete Centered Skating, Garrett has pioneered a program deeply rooted in sports science, focusing on athlete development, motor skill acquisition and psychology. His book, "A Constraints-Led Approach to Figure Skating Coaching," exemplifies his dedication to advancing coaching. Garrett’s extensive coaching achievements, including serving as the National Development Team coach and earning recognition such as the U.S Figure Skating/Professional Skaters Association Pieter Kollen Sport Science Award, highlight his exceptional contributions to the field. Serving as the Chair of the PSA Sport Science Committee and a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Sport Science and Medicine Committee, Lucash continues to shape the landscape of coaching education and athlete support at both national and international levels.