Friday, June 23, 2006

new head coach

USDST news: You heard it here first — Ray Watkins, longtime (though intermittant) assistant coach for the team, has been named Head Alpine Coach, replacing Kevin Jardine. He will officially start July 8th. For the last couple years, Ray has been a golf pro in Mt. Shasta, Calif., although he was with the team as an assistant coach for the World Cup Finals and Paralympics in Italy last winter. Last year he married Gwynn Albee, a New Hampshirite who was the head coach of the Winter Park Disabled Ski Team a couple years back. It'll be interesting to see if Gwynn comes back into the disabled skiing world again as well.

Ray is a short, super-fit, friendly dude who does a spot-on Eric Cartman impersonation. (I once spent an entire chairlft ride listening to him sing Styx's prog-rock opus "Come Sail Away" in Cartman's voice.) He can be a little more no-nonsense than Kevin, which could be a good thing for the team now. If you get a little too self-congratulatory, say by talking about how many miles you biked yesterday, Ray's likely to respond with "Whaddya, want a cookie?"

Our first training camp with Ray as head coach is tentatively scheduled for late July at Mt. Hood.

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