Mike Kohn promoted to head coach of USA Bobsled
USA Bobsled has promoted Olympic medalist Mike Kohn to head coach of the national team, part of a significant overhaul of the coaching staff following a disappointing showing at the Pyeongchang Games.
Kohn will be aided by another Olympic medalist, with Shauna Rohbock now added to the staff as an assistant coach. Former USA Luge standout Ashley Walden also has been promoted, and will now serve as director of sport — overseeing all USA Bobsled and Skeleton programs.
USABS CEO Darrin Steele said the changes were made with an eye toward getting the Americans back into medal contention for the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
“For most of our history, we’ve had the luxury of being able to focus on the majority of our resources to the top athletes,” Steele said. “That is no longer a strategy we can maintain. In 2018 we were unable to advance most of our top athletes and teams into medal contention and the pipeline of talent is not what it should be. We are making changes that will provide both a better coaching structure for our elite athletes and a more effective talent pipeline for the future.”
Brian Shimer, who was serving as head coach, will now be the federation’s driving coach. Tuffy Latour is staying with the team as well, now solely as skeleton head coach.
USABS sliders struggled in Pyeongchang, winning only one medal — a silver in women’s bobsled. In the other disciplines, the best finish Americans had was ninth in four-man bobsled, 11th in men’s skeleton, 13th in women’s skeleton and 14th in two-man bobsled.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to work with our tremendous athletes in this role,” said Kohn, who won his Olympic medal in 2002 as part of a four-man sled driven by Shimer. “I will continue to give all that I have to help this team continue its history of success and make our country proud.”
Rohbock becomes the second woman to be part of the national team coaching staff. She and Kohn are also both members of the U.S. Army National Guard.
“I am honored that the USABS has trusted me with continuing the success of this team,” Rohbock said.
Walden, a 16-time member of USA Luge’s national team, moves up after running the team’s internal operations for the last four years. She assumes the director of sport role that Latour held while simultaneously coaching over the last four years.
As part of the moves, USABS has parted ways with coaches Zach Lund and Sepp Plozza.
“We are a close family and as difficult as it is to make some of these decisions, we have to hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect from our athletes,” Steele said.