Six Parkites named coaches of the year by U.S. Ski and Snowboard
With the 2019-20 winter sports season over, U.S. Ski and Snowboard is finishing up its awards season by acknowledge which athletes, programs and coaches were among the best in not just the country, but the world.
After naming Wasatch Freestyle its freestyle program of the year last week, the program picked up another honor as coach Bryon Wilson was named the domestic freestyle coach of the year.
Wilson was one of six coaches with Park City ties named as coach of the year by U.S. Ski and Snowboard. He joined Nick Poplawski, Park City Ski & Snowboard; Forest Carey, U.S. Alpine Ski Team; Ryan Wyble, U.S. Freeski Rookie Team; Tomas Matura, USA Nordic; and Vladimir Lebedev, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team as some of the best coaches in the world.
Bryon Wilson, Wasatch Freestyle Foundation
Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year
In just his second season of coaching, Wilson has emerged as one of the best in the business. He’s taken his background as a competitive moguls skier who won a bronze medal in moguls at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and when combined with Wasatch Freestyle’s unique approach to coaching, has helped churn out members for the U.S. national team and some of the best skiers on the NorAm tour.
“I’m pretty proud to be named a coach of the year, but I couldn’t do this without the rest of the staff and without the athletes,” Wilson said. “Their willingness to trust me, trust the process and just work really hard is a reflection of my coaching style and their overall attitude and approach to skiing. It really is an honor to be named because it reflects on the program as a whole and how I couldn’t have gotten here if not for them.”
This year alone Wilson had two of his athletes, Madison and Kasey Hogg, took first and second overall on the NorAm tour and will most likely be named to the U.S. freestyle ski team. Three other athletes also qualified for Junior Worlds while Cole McDonald and Dylan Marcellini finished in first and third respectively at Junior Nationals.
Nick Poplawski, Park City Ski & Snowboard
Snowboard Domestic Coach of the Year
Poplawski, or “Pop” as he’s better known, has been named the snowboard domestic coach of the year.
“This award means a lot to me as I have always taken a ‘rider’s first’ approach. I really try to focus on rider success, whether that be in contests, filming or personal development,” Poplawski said in a statement. “Beyond that being a steward of the sport is huge for me. I’m always striving to do everything I can to help riders fall in love with snowboarding the same way my coaches did for me as a young rider.”
Pop is widely regarded in the snowboarding community as a technically savvy coach who’s coaching style encourages fun and laughter to help create a much more enjoyable team experience. His knowledge of the sport and what it takes to be successful is one of the main reasons Park City Ski and Snowboard has been able to produce top-tier youth snowboarders throughout the country.
Forest Carey, U.S. Alpine Ski Team
Alpine International Coach of the Year
Carey, who’s another former national team athlete turned coach, was just named the Alpine International coach of the year for his leadership and success throughout this past season.
“It is sort of an odd feeling because we are a part of these athletes’ lives when they are at the elite level. But their families and their entire local ski communities are really the people who cultivated these athletes’ passion, commitment and skill, and, therefore deserve the recognition,” Carey said in a statement. “I share this award with the selfless, caring, competent staff of coaches, servicemen, and physios whom I work with every day. We, as a staff, are fortunate to work with dedicated athletes who are also great people.”
This is his third time winning the award, having previously earned it in 2011 and 2015.. According to his athletes, one of Carey’s best qualities is his ability to understand exactly what an athletes needs and then deliver it to them — which more than likely comes from his own successful career as a competitor.
Ryan Wyble, U.S. Freeski Rookie Team
Freeski International Coach of the Year
Wyble may just be coaching the freeski athletes of the future, but in no way does it diminish the success he’s found as he’s been names the Freeski International coach of the year.
“To be recognized for my work as a coach amongst a long list of my colleagues is an honor,” Wyble said in a statement. “It feels incredible to receive an award for two consecutive years. Lastly, I want to emphasize how much work and effort all the athletes put in and want to congratulate them all on what they achieved this past season.“
Winning this award was just the next step in Wyble’s career after he was named overall Development coach of the year last season. This season, though, he had two athletes (Hunter Henderson and Rell Harwood) win their respective NorAm Cup titles while Henderson also finished third in slopestyle at the Youth Olympic Games. Two members of the U.S. rookie team, Deven Fagan and Cody LaPlante, each earned World Cup podiums.
Tomas Matura, USA Nordic
Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year
Matura, who hails from the Czech Republic, has had a long journey from beginning with USA Nordic as a wax technician to now being named an international coach of the year.
“I’m looking forward to the first World Cup season and World Championship event for women’s Nordic combined next season,” Matura said in a statement. “I’m happy that I can be part of this growing and successful team from the beginning of women’s Nordic combined.”
After displaying a passion for coaching, Matura began working with Tara Geraghty-Moats, the top Nordic combined women’s skier in the world and helped the men’s team notch six top-10 Continental Cup finishes this past season. He was also named head coach of the women’s Nordic combined team this past spring.
Vladimir Lebedev, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team
Freestyle International Coach of the Year
All it took was one year as the U.S. aerials head coach for Lebedev to make his mark as he was named as the Freestyle International coach of the year.
“My motivation as a coach is to develop my athletes into their true potential,” Lebedev said in a statement. “I always strive to provide my very best self to them so that they in turn become the best at what they do. This past season was a good step in our three-year plan as we head into Beijing 2022.”
His athletes continuously raved about his approach to aerials and his overall approach to the sport, noting the improved competitive nature and camaraderie that he brings. He has four athletes currently ranked in the top-10 in the worlds, and is looking to make another big push this season ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
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