USA Bobsled/Skeleton makes strategic changes to its staff

LAKE PLACID, NY — USA Bobsled/Skeleton (UASBS) announced several changes to its coaching and administrative staff on Wednesday. Many of the changes reflect a thoughtful and strategic approach to long-term growth within the organization.

“As we head into the next Olympic quad, it’s important to reevaluate our organization’s structure and to make strategic changes to optimize the talent we have with our coaches and staff,” said USABS Chief Executive Officer Aron McGuire in a statement.

Mike Kohn announced that he was stepping down from the bobsled head coach position after four years in the role. Kohn, a 2002 Olympic bronze medalist in four-man bobsled, said he decided to leave the position because of a desire to spend more time with his family. He will be coaching the North American Cup bobsled athletes to provide consistency and support to the development of athletes while keeping him closer to home.

“We are grateful for Mike’s leadership as the bobsled head coach over the past quad,” McGuire said. “We are fortunate that he will continue to be part of the program and are confident that his knowledge of bobsled will be an asset to the North American Cup teams.”

As interim bobsled head coach, Brian Shimer has been selected to lead the team on the World Cup tour this season. After winning the 2002 Olympic bronze medal in four-man bobsled, Shimer retired as an athlete and became the head coach of the men’s bobsled team. The coaching staff was restructured after the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and Shimer became the head coach for both the men’s and women’s bobsled teams. Shimer moved into a role that suited his expertise as the driving coach for the last four years, and he’s agreed to step up to lead the team again this season. USABS will reevaluate the bobsled head coach position following this season.

“Brian’s background as the head coach and driving coach will provide him the experience to seamlessly step into the role,” McGuire said in a statement. “We appreciate his continued passion and commitment to supporting USA athletes and the bobsled program.”

Tuffy Latour will be taking on the role of sport performance coach, which will serve both bobsled and skeleton programs. Latour worked in several capacities within USABS from 1998-2006 before working with Team Canada. He returned to the U.S. in 2010 as the skeleton head coach and led the program for the last 12 years. In this new role, Latour will work with bobsled and skeleton athletes throughout the off-season in Lake Placid and on the World Cup tour. He will be working closely with Shimer, the skeleton head coach, and the Director of Sport Performance Curt Tomasevicz to support the needs of the athletes during training and at competitions.

“Having contributed to both bobsled and skeleton programs, Tuffy’s extensive knowledge and international experience make him the ideal candidate to ensure that all the World Cup athletes are properly supported and prepared to compete at their best,” McGuire said in a statement.

As a result of Latour’s move to support both bobsled and skeleton programs, USABS will be seeking candidates for the skeleton head coach of performance position to lead the skeleton team on the World Cup tour.

Eric Bernotas was hired as the director of skeleton development last November, and he will now serve in an expanded role as the director of skeleton programs. Bernotas will lead the development and performance progression pathway for skeleton athletes on and off the track to ensure proper development and optimal performance. Bernotas’ coaching career has covered two Olympic Games. He coached at Sochi in 2014 with Australia before a five-year spell as Britain’s skeleton technical coach for elite performance, where he helped lead his athletes to three medals at Pyeongchang 2018. Bernotas was then named senior head coach of the Canadian skeleton team in July 2020 before he decided to return home to the U.S. in 2021.

On the administrative side, Amanda Bird accepted a job outside of the Olympic movement after spending 15 years as the director of marketing and communications for USABS. Bird will remain active in a limited capacity to assist with the transition.

“We are thankful for Amanda’s contributions during her time with USABS,” McGuire said in a statement. “She has played a critical role in sharing the stories of the athletes, promoting the sports, and supporting the team throughout the year and at key events like the Olympic Games. Amanda did a tremendous job connecting our fans and supporters with the athletes and the organization. Her involvement will be greatly missed, and we wish Amanda the very best.”

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