John McBride finished as Bode Miller’s head coach |

John McBride finished as Bode Miller’s head coach

Nate Peterson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” After helping Bode Miller win his second World Cup overall title, Aspen local John McBride is ready to come home ” for good.

McBride resigned Saturday as Miller’s personal head coach, just two days after Miller clinched the men’s overall crown at the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy.

It’s the third time in as many years that McBride has said he’s done with coaching on the World Cup circuit at the conclusion of a season. All three times, McBride has cited a desire to spend more time with his family. McBride’s wife, Sunni, said she believes her husband won’t be swayed to change his mind this time.

“I told him I’d give him a new job. He can be a full-time dad,” said Sunni McBride jokingly when reached at her home Saturday. “It’s always been a year-to-year thing with this, and now that we have three kids, it’s kind of important to be back with the family at this point.”

Miller and McBride both parted ways with the U.S. Ski Team at the end of last year’s World Cup season for different reasons. McBride wanted to spend more time with his kids and Miller wanted to race as an independent, claiming that his at-times tumultuous relationship with U.S. Ski Team leadership had run its course.

Miller then convinced McBride to sign on as his personal coach for his breakaway outfit, which he dubbed “Team America.”

In an interview with The Aspen Times in November, McBride said he agreed to return to coach Miller exclusively because the offer included the option of setting his own schedule during the long World Cup season.

McBride was home for an extended period of time in December and January ” in the heart of the World Cup season ” for the birth of his son, Jasper. McBride also has two daughters, Ruby, 4, and Lucy, 3.

“It’s not ideal for sure,” McBride said in November about his repeated changes of heart. “I’d like to be seeing my kids everyday, but I do love to coach, and my wife is supportive enough to recognize that, and she knows I love it. It’s not a long-term deal. I feel a little silly talking to anyone about the fact that I’ve said I’m going to quit and I keep coming back, but ultimately Bode keeps making it a pretty attractive offer, and, one way or another, it’s hard to refuse something I love to do.”

After telling Miller of his plans Saturday, McBride told The Associated Press that “I’m not coming back on my own accord” when asked about the possibility of returning for the 2009 World Cup season.

“The most I’ll do with him for next season is maybe some preseason dry-land training and one or two races,” McBride told the AP.

McBride said he wasn’t sure if Miller would hire someone to replace him.

“He’s looking at how to improve his situation,” McBride said. “He’s looking at different options.”

McBride wanted to retire two years ago and Miller lured him back to be his primary coach within the U.S. team, officially working under the title of the men’s combined coach.

“He’s invested 10 or 12 years in this program and with me, and I appreciate that time,” Miller said.

Miller’s uncle Mike Kenney, who was McBride’s assistant, and his ski technician Robbie Kristan also resigned Saturday to spend more time at home.

“It’s obviously a concern of mine for next season if I continue to race, which is still up in the air on its own,” Miller told The Associated Press. “But with the right program in place, I think it would be a great opportunity for me to race further.

“It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with, just like I’ve dealt with it in the past.

It was something that was an issue when I broke away from the team. I didn’t have any contracts secured when I broke away from the squad.”

Phil McNichol, the U.S. team’s head coach for men, also resigned Saturday after American skiers wrapped up their best season. He, too, wanted more family time.

Miller and Lindsey Vonn became the first Americans to sweep the men’s and women’s overall titles in the same year since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney 25 years ago. Also, Miller took the men’s combined title, Ted Ligety won the giant slalom title and Vonn claimed the women’s downhill crown.

“It’s good to leave when the guys are doing well and the team is in a good place,” McNichol told The Associated Press. “The whole federation is moving in the right direction. I wanted to leave it better than it was when I started.”

Miller’s problems with the U.S. team centered on rules prohibiting him from sleeping in his personal motor home. He wouldn’t rule out a move back to the U.S. team, but considers that option unlikely.

“There’s possibilities there, but it would have to be with some concessions I’m sure on both sides,” Miller said. “They would have to do a pretty good job with putting forward a proposal and in the past they’ve been pretty resistant.”

The only coach still with Miller is Forest Carey, who skied with Miller at the Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine years ago.

McNichol joined the U.S. staff in 1997 and coached Miller to his first overall title in 2005. U.S. Alpine director Jesse Hunt has not selected a replacement. U.S. women’s head coach Patrick Riml could be a possible candidate, but Riml left open the possibility he might step down, too.

“We’ve got to go back for nationals, talk about it, and then we’ll see,” Riml said.

Riml is Austrian and McNichol would prefer an American as a replacement.

“I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been able to develop an American staff. That wasn’t the case when I started,” McNichol said. “When you go and ask another country to show you how to be good in something, it perpetuates an undertone to the athletes that you have to learn from a Swiss, or you have to watch an Austrian.”