The NENSA Coach of the Year award is given annually to honor a NENSA coach for their achievements and contributions in working with athletes in support of NENSA’s mission to sustain a vibrant and active cross country skiing community in New England. We are thrilled to share that Audrey Mangan of the Craftsbury Ski Club is the 2023 NENSA Coach of the Year!
Audrey coaches at all levels of the Craftsbury Ski Club from skiers trying the sport for the first time in the Bill Koch League to junior athletes competing for podiums at Junior Nationals. Audrey can do it all and she does it all well including supporting Craftsbury’s professional ski team (the Craftsbury Green Racing Project) in coaching and wax tech capacities. NENSA reached out to Audrey’s colleagues at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and they had the following to share.
“Audrey is a gem of a human and an exceptional coach. In any given week, Audrey might teach toddlers how to ski, manage a pile of computer systems to organize a couple hundred people, execute an interval session for nationally competitive juniors, test and wax skis for a SuperTour, rally several dozen BKLers for a treasure hunt or round of dodgeball, meet with an athlete to tackle race day anxiety, and solicit sponsorships for a huge regional event. Somehow she does all these things quietly and modestly, never needing to be in the spotlight. Audrey’s positivity, competence, care for her athletes, and love of skiing all combine to make her a wonderful asset for our whole ski community.” – Anna Schulz
“A great teacher once told me that being a teacher is 80% about who you are as a person. As ski coaches, we not only strive to make outstanding athletes but also well-rounded young adults. Audrey’s compassion, knowledge, experience and dedication go far beyond just being a good ski coach. She is a constant example of the type of person we want all our kids to be. Any athlete who has had the privilege to work with Audrey either in our club, at JNs, U16s or EHSC has come out the other side a better person.” – Jake Barton
“If multitasking while laughing and smiling was an Olympic sport, Audrey would have won a gold medal! Anyone who has worked with Audrey knows that her laughter can fill a room and make everyone feel good but even more than that she is endlessly patient, creative and thoughtful. She is deeply respected by the athletes, parents and fellow coaches and brings so much Craftsbury Outdoor Center programs. Audrey is truly deserving of this award!” – Rick Costanza
Audrey’s boss, Judy Gear, shared that “Audrey’s calm, quiet demeanor may sometimes hide the fact that she is an incredibly energetic, capable, creative and fun-loving coach who always goes the extra mile for her kids and their families. Whether it’s supporting NE racers at JNs, or leading Craftsbury’s Bill Koch Fest planning, she puts her heart into it, to the benefit of so many NE skiers.”
Audrey leads by example remaining calm under pressure instilling confidence in her athletes all while interjecting humor and kindness into everything she does. This was clearly reflected in the sentiments shared by some of the Craftsbury Ski Club athletes and their parents.
“Audrey has been a fantastic coach/role model/mentor/friend to our crew. She has the innate ability to read the needs of the young athletes that she coaches (and their parents, as well.)” – Scott Lange (parent)
“Audrey is an awesome coach who is always there when I need a little boost of joy and confidence before a big race. She is constantly smiling and having a good time which rubs off on the whole team and makes us race harder. She’s super serious about racing and us doing well but you would never know because it’s always fun and she never puts pressure on you to win, only to race hard and have a good time. If there was one word I’d use to describe Audrey it would be joyful.” – Sisu Lange (athlete)
“Audrey is a really wonderful coach. One of my favorite qualities of hers is how consistent and patient she is. Audrey is almost always at practice and puts forth so much effort to be calm with the kids. I also love how positive and encouraging she is.” – Dan Demaine (parent)
“Audrey earns her young skiers’ trust by seeing them as multidimensional human beings. That kind of trust encourages kids to take positive risks out on their skis and in their lives.” – Kate Linton (parent), approved by Emily and Isabel Linton (athletes)
“One thing that makes Audrey special to me is her consistent positivity. She brings a unique joyfulness to the coaching team. Even amidst the ups and downs of all the stressors, Audrey is calm and cool — and still smiling. Another is her ability to make those around her — kids and adults — feel seen.” – Alyssa Krebs (parent)
“Audrey is so deserving of this honor. She consistently embodies what we think makes a great coach. She is beyond dedicated to the youth in our program, and it shows in how she tirelessly guides athletes in a positive way and helps them reach their potential. The kids she coaches aren’t just learning to ski or race, but are also growing their love of the sport because of her joy, support, and enthusiasm, even on the tough days. We couldn’t be more grateful to have her as a coach, and we are just thrilled that NENSA is recognizing her dedication.” – Victoria von Hessert (parent)
In addition to her commitment to her Craftsbury athletes, Audrey also contributes to coaching within the greater New England community at Regional Elite Group camps and Junior Nationals. Longtime head coach of the New England Junior National Team, Matt Boobar, shared, “I have been very impressed with Audrey’s coaching and nordic sport involvement for years now. I really respect her professionalism while also blending a nice dose of reality and humor. I also have had the pleasure of helping lead the New England Junior National Team for many years now. When I see Audrey on the coaching roster I know that part of the trip will be totally dialed. This award is certainly going to a great person, coach and leader in our sport.” NENSA’s Competitive Program Director, Justin Beckwith, had similar sentiments to share saying, “Audrey has been a key player in many NENSA development programs including REG Camps and four Junior National trips. She has an impressive and varied coaching background with over a decade of experience working with athletes of all ages. Audrey has an awesome sense of humor that balances well with her firm handle on just about any situation.”