New season, new faces: Coaching changes in Alpine Skiing
The end of an Olympic season is often the best time for teams to re-organise. Below is an overview of the major coaching changes that have been announced to date.
After four seasons as the head coach of the Austrian men’s team, during which his team won two Olympic gold medals and a silver, three overall World Cup titles and eight World Championship medals, Mathias Berthold announced he will no longer continue his engagement. A few days later, the German Ski Association announced that Berthold will take over Charly Waibel’s position as men’s head coach. At the end of the season, Waibel moved to a different position within the German Ski Association, focusing on material development and scientific research.
On the German ladies’ side, head coach Thomas Stauffer was succeeded by Markus Anwander, a Garmisch-Partenkirchen coach who has previously worked with Katja Seizinger and Maria Höfl-Riesch. In addition, Christian Schwaiger, who was the responsible technical coach for the ladies the past eight years, moved to the men's team. He will serve as senior coach for the speed teams.
Berthold was not the only one to leave the Austrian Team, his colleague on the speed side, Burkhard Schaffer, transitioned to a new role with the Canadian Ski Association where he will take over the men’s coaching position vacated by a retiring John “Johno” McBride. Schaffer previously coached the Canadian men’s speed team from 2001-2006. Canada’s ladies head coach Hugues Ansermoz has taken over a regional coaching position with Swiss-Ski. A replacement for Ansermoz has not yet been announced.
With Berthold leaving, the Austrian Ski Association did a bit of internal shuffling and Andi Puelacher, who was previously in charge of the men’s giant slalom and combined group took over the position vacated by Berthold, while Florian Raich moved into Puelacher’s position. Florian Winkler, who coached the speed group on the ladies’ side for the past three years, moved to the men’s team to replace Schaffer. With Winkler’s move to the men’s team, former skier Roland Assinger was moved from coaching the Europa Cup ladies to fill in the vacated position. Meanwhile, Marko Pfeifer will continue to coach the technical group as he has done this past year.
In France, Anthony Séchaud, who worked with the ladies technical team, was named the new ladies' head coach and will succeed Benjamin Melquiond. Séchaud’s role will be taken over by Frédéric Perrin, while Pierre-Yves Albrieux will take over from Nicolas Burtin as the speed team’s coach.
On the French men’s side, Claude Crétier moved from the ladies’, while Joel Chenal did the opposite and will join the ladies’ tech staff which now includes Romain Velez, Slovakian skier Veronika Velez-Zuzulova’s husband who previously worked with her.
On the Swiss Team, Walter Hlebayna resigned from his position as men’s head coach and has been replaced by Thomas Stauffer. Walter Hubmann will no longer coach the Swiss speed group and will return to coaching Croatian Natko Zrncic-Dim. Sepp Brunner, who has been working with different training groups within Swiss-Ski and oversaw the individual training of Beat Feuz, will replace Hubmann. After the retirement of Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen, her coach Christian Brüesch will return to Swiss-Ski as the new European Cup group trainer.
Mauro Pini, who was coaching Tina Maze for three months and helped her win two Olympic gold medals in Sochi, will not continue his work with Team to aMaze. Maze’s boyfriend, Andrea Massi, remains head coach and team manager, and he informed the press that they do not yet have a known replacement for Pini heading into the 2014/15 season
Stefan Abplanalp ended his contract with the Norwegian ladies’ team a year earlier than planned to take over the U.S. ladies’ speed position vacated by Chip White, who has moved to a new role after 18 years with the U.S. Ski Team. Meanwhile, the U.S. Ski Team ended its relationship with its head men’s speed coach Andreas Evers. A replacement will be announced shortly.
In Italy, men’s head coach Massimo Rinaldi will succeed Claudio Ravetto as Technical Director. The men’s technical coach Jacques Theolier announced that after five years his partnership with the Italian Association has come to an end. The other changes, including Theolier’s replacement are expected to be made public in the upcoming weeks.