May 8, 2006
PARK CITY, UT - (News Release) - Chris Brigham, a member of the U.S. Ski Team alpine coaching staff since the mid-Nineties, has been promoted to men's downhill and super G head coach, Men's Head Coach Phil McNichol announced.
Brigham replaces John McBride, who retired after 10 years with the U.S. staff, including the last four as downhill/SG head coach. Pete Bosinger also retired at season's end, creating a second opening on the World Cup staff.
Brigham grew up in Sheffield, Mass., in the southern Berkshires, and was a racer until graduating from UMass-Amherst in 1989. He coached at Waterville Valley Academy (NH) and the New York Ski Education Foundation for five years, joined the U.S. staff with the '95 season for a year, spent '96 with the Canadian downhillers and returned to the U.S. Ski Team staff for good after the 1996 season.
With Brigham moving up, McNichol said Europa Cup Coach Rewk Patten, formerly with Colorado's Crested Butte Academy before joining the U.S. coaching staff before last season, was being promoted to the World Cup squad and former Australian speed coach Michael Branch has been added to the staff, too.
"Even with 'Johno' and 'Pedro' leaving, it's all coming together pretty well for the new staff," McNichol said. "Chris is an outstanding coach and he's got the respect of the athletes, which is so important, but he also brings the continuity that we look for in maintaining stability in the staff and on the team. He's been with us for about a dozen seasons and he's seen it all..."And we've worked closely in recent years with the Aussies on the World Cup, helping each other back and forth, so our guys all know 'Mick' and this was another easy decision. He's worked with us for three years, so there's almost no learning curve to go through because he knows us and how we like to do things. He's a quick, easy fit. Rewk performed well last season with the Europa Cup and he's already fit in, too," McNichol said.
Brigham pointed to the talent on the team and said he looked for younger skiers to keep moving up. Following the retirement of former world champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), the veterans include reigning world DH and SG champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) and two-time Olympians Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) plus 2006 Olympian Steve Nyman (Orem, UT) with Bryon Friedman (Park City, UT) returning from injury.
"I'm pretty excited. Having been with the Ski Team (more than a decade), it's good to have the continuity...and Mick's practically been part of our staff these last two or three seasons, so that's all to the good," Brigham said. "We'll miss Daron, of course, but we've got some athletes proving themselves on the World Cup...and it should be a fun season."
In other coaching moves, Forest Carey - Middlebury College alpine head coach and a former U.S. Ski Team athlete - has been added to the men's slalom and GS staff. Carey replaces Tom Sell, who takes over as men's development coach with Andrew Cesati assuming additional duties as conditioning coach, while Manuel Gamper, who was a seasonal coach last winter with the men's tech team, replaces Patten on the Europa Cup staff.
U.S. Alpine Director Jesse Hunt said, "Phil's done a tremendous job filling key positions in a post-Olympic period when there's been turnover in veteran staff. The goal of keeping consistency and continuity is being achieved in the men's program, and it reflects our ongoing philosophy to fill important positions, where possible, from within the organization. I'm proud we're in a position to charge our own coaches with leadership roles."