COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon Certified Coaches Kathleen Johnston and Mike Ricci have been named the 2013 USA Triathlon Coaches of the Year for their successes within the developmental pipeline and the collegiate triathlon scene.
Johnston (Nashville, Tenn.) earned Development Coach of the Year honors for her guidance of Junior Elite and Youth Elite in the Southeast Region. She led the Southeast Junior High Performance Triathlon Team to a first place finish in the USA Triathlon Development Team Championships, and coached No. 1 ranked Junior Elite male triathlete Hunter Honeycutt throughout the season. She also coached athletes to podium finishes at the 2013 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships, including Brent Demarest (second), Honeycutt (third) and Devon Dabney (second). Johnston also served as the head coach for the U.S. junior team at PATCO Triathlon Championships in Brazil and ITU World Championships in London.
“I am especially honored to receive this award and am grateful for the recognition it brings to the athletes, families and coaches who have been so supportive of my efforts with junior development,” Johnston said. “I feel very fortunate to work with junior athletes who are not only talented but have great character values and love for their sport. They have helped our program blossom by being good role models both on and off the field of play. They are a joy to work with. It is a very exciting time for junior elite triathlete development and I am so honored to be a part of it.”
Ricci (Boulder, Colo.) was awarded National Coach of the Year for his work with the 2013 University of Colorado Buffaloes, who won their fourth consecutive national title at the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships. Ricci coached Michelle Mehnert, who won the Olympic-distance race at Collegiate Nationals, as well as four other top-15 finishers. The team also earned their fifth straight Mountain Conference Regional Collegiate Championship title. He also coached a number of athletes to podium finishes at other events, including the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
“I am honored to have been nominated for this award, and completely humbled to actually have won it considering the depth of triathlon coaching talent in the United States,” Ricci said. “I share this recognition with all of the athletes I’ve coached as they’ve shaped the coach I am today. I am fortunate to have had numerous mentors who have made a significant impact on my life, and those experiences have translated to my coaching skills. Most importantly, I have to thank my wonderful wife, Melanie, and our two children, for having patience with me as I’ve navigated my coaching career and because they’ve allowed me the flexibility to be the best coach I can be for my athletes.”
Coaches of the year are selected based on the performance of the athletes they coach, as well as service to the sport, athlete testimony and coaching character. More information on USA Triathlon’s coaching programs is available at usatriathlon.org/coaching.