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John McMurtry

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

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John McMurtry, U.S. Ski Team coach and Alpine development leader during the 1980’s, established a regional feeder program bringing thousands of athletes to the sport.

John McMurtry might be best known for his career coaching the U.S. Ski Team in the 1980’s. His racers won World Cup titles, Olympic medals and the team’s only Nation’s Cup. Many of the skiers he coached have become Honored Members of the National Ski Hall of Fame.

Yet his most significant contribution to the sport could be the USSA’s Regional Development Program that has brought and continues to bring thousands of young athletes into the sport. After he left the U.S. Ski Team in 1984, they would struggle to reach top 10 results. The team was the top alpine team at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics but failed to medal just four years later at the 1988 Games in Calgary. In 1987, he was invited back as the Alpine Director and the Director of Athlete Development. He envisioned and executed a regional development program that set the team up for its consistent success that we still see to this day.

He proposed that the country be divided into three regions: Eastern, Rocky/Central, and Western. These regions would organize training camps and competitions for the top junior talent and their coaches. This exposed the athletes to national programs and allowed regional/national director, coaches and staff to identify talent. Within three years of the program, 14 medals had been won at the World Junior Championships. This structure remains in place to this day and had produced racers like: Picabo Street, Tommy Moe, Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Lindsay Vonn and Kristina Koznick.

He is presently the Chief Development Officer of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, where he and his team work to prevent ski injuries through continuous research and education. Their goal is to increase lifelong enjoyment of sports through proper physical preparation.

He has created a legacy with his training performance manuals for athletes and coaches along with assisting international ski programs and his continuous research of sports medicine.

Career Highlights:

1969-1971:Member of the University of Denver’s NCAA national championship team
1974: Rocky Mountain Coach of the Year
1976-1984: U.S. Ski Team Women’s Coach
1978: Authored the first comprehensive U.S. Ski Team Alpine Training Manual
1980-1984: Coach, U.S. Women’s World Cup, Olympic Slalom and Giant Slalom Ski teams
1982: Colorado has John McMurtry Day
1985: Chief of Race for the first World Cup races held in Utah
1987-1990: U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director and Director of Athlete Development
1994 to present: Director of Development at Steadman Philippon Research Institute
1995: Inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

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