In an ironic turn of events, the United States Olympic Committee is honoring a coach who was just removed by the United States Paralympic Committee from an upcoming international trip.
Last week, Loyola University’s head coach Brian Loeffler was removed from the United States’ Para Pan American Games coaching staff after he tweeted comments criticizing the IPC classification process. Loeffler’s comments came specifically after 17-year old Australian Madison Elliott was reclassified twice during the meet, although American coaches have expressed frustration with other situations created by the IPC’s classification process over the past few years.
However, this week, the USOC announced that Loeffler was its selection as the Paralympic National Coach of the Year for 2014. Last year, Paralympic champions Brad Snyder and Cortney Jordan, both of whom Loeffler has helped developed, according to the USOC press release, won a combined 14 medals at the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships, where Loeffler served as an assistant coach. In total, Loeffler was responsible for four athletes, who combined, set one world record and 10 American records. Loeffler’s success continued into this year, as nine of the eleven gold medals team USA won at this year’s IPC World Championships were won by athletes he coached.
Other athletes Loeffler has coached at Loyola include National Team swimmers Alyssa Gialamas and McKenzie Coan and world-record-breaker and ESPY winner Becca Meyers.
According to the USOC article, each particular sport’s National Governing Body selected their 2014 Coaches of the Year, and then “a panel of coaching and sport education professionals” selected three national finalists in each category.