COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Loyola University Maryland head swimming & diving coach Brian Loeffler has been named the 2014 Paralympic National Coach of the Year, as announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee Thursday.
Loeffler guided four Paralympic athletes to one world and 10 American records in 2014. He also served as an assistant coach at the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships, where he helped Team USA top the medal standings with 115 medals, including 34 goals, and as the head coach for Team USA at the 2014 Croatian Open.
“We are honored to recognize this distinguished group of coaches, who have dedicated their lives to helping American athletes realize their full potential and achieve excellence, both on and off the field of play,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance, in a press release. “Team USA is stronger because of their positive influence and tireless commitment to our athletes, and we are proud to honor them as our coaches of the year.”
Under Loeffler’s guidance, rising juniors McKenzie Coan and Alyssa Gialamas have thrived on the Paralympic scene. At the 2015 IPC World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland earlier this July, Coan picked up a silver medal in the 4x100 meter relay with Team USA, while Gialamas broke the American record with her fourth-place finish in the S5 50 meter backstroke with a time of 48.16.
Loeffler also coaches Paralympic champions Brad Snyder and Cortney Jordan.
On the Olympic side, Skogen Sprang (freestyle skiing, Olympic Valley, Calif.) was recognized as the National Coach of the Year, while George Ryals (archery; Monroe, Ga.) was Developmental Coach of the Year, Kathleen Stevenson (archery; Nichols Hills, Okla.) was Volunteer Coach of the Year and Dave Hamilton (field hockey; Lancaster, Pa.) took home the Doc Councilman Science Award.
Ryan Reser (judo) and Paul Walker (tennis) were the other finalists for Paralympic Coach of the Year honors.