U.S. speed coach hurrying home | AspenTimes.com

U.S. speed coach hurrying home

Jon Maletz
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Aspen native and U.S. Ski Team men’s coach John McBride is heading home. And this time it’s for good.After 10 years of service – the last four as head downhill and super G coach – McBride announced his retirement Friday, in a statement released by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association. Pete Bosinger, who joined the coaching staff in fall 2002 and worked alongside McBride, also tendered his resignation.”It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for my family,” McBride said in the statement. He lives in Snowmass with wife, Sunni, and his two daughters, Ruby, 2, and Lucy, who will turn 1 later this month. “My girls are bringing me home for good.”McBride, 41, who was a ski racer throughout his college career at the University of Vermont, joined the U.S. squad in 1997 after a coaching stint with the Aspen Ski Team (now the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club). Under his tenure, the United States ascended into international prominence.

Since McBride settled in his role as head downhill and super G coach in 2002, Bode Miller has become one of the world’s most prolific threats. Miller became just the second American to win the World Cup overall title last season. Daron Rahlves, who also plans to retire following the current season, is one of the most accomplished men’s speed skiers in the country’s history. While the success has been undeniable, McBride refused to take credit when he sat down for an interview with The Aspen Times in early January.”I just play a little part in helping great athletes reach their potential,” McBride said.During that interview, McBride addressed how Rahlves’ impending retirement and the uncertainty surrounding Miller would affect the team’s future. He acknowledged that such departures would understandably hinder the team’s elite status.McBride’s father, John McBride Sr., said such questions had little bearing on his son’s decision.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with it,” McBride Sr. said in an interview Friday. “He was supportive of all the guys he coached from day one. It’s hard for him to leave, especially after starting to see them all succeed so much. “I think [this decision] was essential,” he said. “I mean, he has two little kids, and they need him here. To continue to do what he’s doing, he’d probably have to move to Europe. I hate to speak for him, but I’m proud of him, and it sounds like he’s making a good decision. Sweden was a good way to end up.”While the alpine team’s glaring shortcomings in the Turin Olympic Games are well documented, the U.S. silenced some critics with its performance at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden. Miller, second in Wednesday’s downhill, won Thursday’s super G. He was joined on the podium by Rahlves, who took silver. Rahlves, in his final individual World Cup race, placed sixth in Friday’s giant slalom.Relationships – not the gold or silver medals – are what McBride said he will miss most. “Nothing’s more important, more valuable than my relationships with the athletes and the staff, and the people we’ve dealt with all these years,” McBride said in the news release. “You get to know and trust and respect people. … It’s very special, and those relationships stand out more than any race.”

When asked what the future holds for his son, McBride Sr. said the possibilities abound. McBride and his wife have expressed an interest in helping on the family’s Old Snowmass ranch, which produces beef. McBride is also an experienced contractor and sculptor.No matter where McBride’s life takes him in the coming years, sports will continue to play an integral part.”He’s a superb coach,” McBride Sr. said. “I’m sure he’ll never give that up. Sports will always be a part of his life.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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