COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) presented its 2006 Coach of the Year honorees at a luncheon held today in collaboration with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.
The USOC also presented awards to the 2006 SportsMan, SportsWoman, Paralympian, and Team of the Year honorees.

Swimming was in the spotlight for the two Paralympic awards, as Julie O'Neill (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was named USOC Paralympic Coach of the Year, while Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) received her USOC Paralympian of the Year award, which had previously been announced.

O’Neill, head coach of the 2006 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Team, led the U.S. team that won the overall medal count at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa. It was the first time the U.S. had won the medal count at an IPC World Championships or Paralympic Games in the sport of swimming. Twenty of the 25 athletes on the roster finished with at least one medal, and three of the five who did not medal had at least one fourth-place finish.

The other finalists for Paralympic Coach of the Year were James Gumbert (wheelchair rugby/Austin, Texas) and Ron Lykins (wheelchair basketball/Stillwater, Minn.).

Long played a major role in helping O'Neill build that medal count in Durban, winning gold medals in all nine events (seven individual, two relay) she competed in and setting five world records (100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m IM, 400m freestyle and freestyle relay). The World Championships capped off a year for Long that included 11 other world record-setting times, including three at the 2006 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships in August. She is Swimming World’s 2006 Disabled Swimmer of the Year and was named a finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year. She was recently awarded the AAU James Sullivan Award as the nation’s premier amateur athlete.

Other honorees announced today for 2006 Coach of the Year are National Coach of the Year Bud Keene (U.S. Ski and Snowboard/Stowe, Vt.), Developmental Coach of the Year Mark Mitchell and Peter Johansson (U.S. Figure Skating/Wellesley, Mass.), Volunteer Coach of the Year Booker Woods (USA Track & Field/Los Angeles, Calif.) and “Doc” Counsilman award winner Kat Arbour (U.S. Figure Skating/Philadelphia, Pa.).

Announced in January 2007, the other honorees for the 2006 USOC athlete awards are SportsMan of the Year Joey Cheek (long track speedskating/Greensboro, N.C), SportsWoman of the Year Hannah Teter (snowboarding/Belmont, Vt.) and Team of the Year the U.S. Men’s Curling Team. The curling team comprises members Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Shawn Rojeski (Chisholm, Minn.), Joe Polo (Cass Lake, Minn.), John Shuster (Chisholm, Minn.) and Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.).

Taken for U.S. Paralympics

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