Year Inducted: 2014
Most people know John McMurtry for his U.S. Ski Team coaching career in the 1980s when he coached racers who won World Cup titles, Olympic gold and silver medals, and the Nation’s Cup. Yet his most significant contribution to the sport of skiing is the USSA Regional Development Program that has brought and continues to bring thousands of young athletes into the sport.
After leaving the U.S. Ski Team in 1984, the U.S. rarely achieved top 10 results. In 1987, he was invited back as Development/Alpine Director. In this position he envisioned and executed a successful solution that set the U.S. team up for its current success.
To foster athlete development, McMurtry divided the country into three regions: Eastern, Rocky/Central and Western. Each region organized training camps and competitions for top junior talent and their coaches. After each event, athletes would return to their home program. This “pollination” exposed athletes to national programs and allowed regional directors/coaches and national team staff to work with and identify talent. This plan produced dominating performances at the World Junior Championships (1987-’90) bringing home 14 medals, eight being gold.
The boards of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Ski Association approved MuMurtry’s development plan in 1989 and this structure remains in place today. Since 1989, every U.S. Ski Team athlete has entered this “pipeline” including Picabo Street, Tommy Moe, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso.
Presently, as Chief Development Officer of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, McMurtry and his associates are working to prevent ski injuries through research and education. The goal is to increase lifelong enjoyment of sports through proper physical preparation. His legacy includes writing performance training manuals for athletes and coaches, assisting with international ski programs and sports medicine research.
*1969-’71- Member of the University of Denver NCAA National Champion ski team, went on to be a coach in Willy Schaffer’s Ski J.E.T.S. junior racing program
*1972-’74- First head coach of the University of Denver’s women’s ski team, voted Rocky Mountain Division Coach of the Year
*1974-’76- Head coach/race director at China Peak, California
*1976-’84- U.S. Ski Team Development Coach, Women’s World Cup and Olympic Team Technical Coach
*1980-’84- Coach of the U.S. Women’s Ski Team which included: Christin Cooper, Cindy Nelsen, Tamara McKinney and Debbie Armstrong
*1984-’87- Partner with J. Richard Steadman, M.D. Sports Medicine Consulting
*1987-’90- U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director and Director of Athlete Development
*1988-’90- FIS World Cup Commission member
*1990-’92- Ski instructor Park City Children’s Ski School
*1994-Present- Chief Development Officer, Steadman Philippon Research Institute