PARK CITY, UT (April 2) – Bud Keene, a member of the 2002 Olympic snowboard coaching staff and assistant freestyle coach this past season, has been named freestyle head coach, U.S. Snowboarding head coach Peter Foley announced Wednesday. Keene replaces Heath Van Aken, who resigned.

“Bud brings an amazing level of energy and knowledge to the team,” Foley said. “He is definitely the person we need to continue to improve and evolve the program.” A search is underway to identify an assistant coach for Keene, Foley added.

A member of the snowboarding community since the early Eighties, it’s tough to find anyone in the sport who doesn’t know Bud Keene. After coaching the Salt Lake Olympic halfpipe forerunners, Keene made it known he wanted to be a bigger part of the U.S. Snowboarding program: three months later he was named assistant freestyle coach before stepping into the head coaching position prior to the U.S. Snowboard Finals.

Respected on all levels of riding, Keene was a competitive snowboarder in the mid-Eighties before joining the Mount Mansfield Ski and Snowboard Club as an alpine snowboarding coach in 1989. After working fulltime with the program for three years, Keene pursued other interests in the snowboard industry while continuing to serve as a part-time coach with the team. He decided to move back into the fulltime role in 1996.

“I’m really psyched to move into the head coaching job,” explained Keene. “After coaching the eight Olympic forerunners, I knew that I wanted to become more involved in the U.S. program, so I spoke to Heath and his advice was that I make it known – so I did. Ever since competing in snowboarding, I did it because it was fun and challenging, and I’ll bring the same energy into this role as I have into my riding over the years. I want U.S. riders to be the best in the world, that’s my goal and with the depth of talent already in place, sweeps on both sides of the podium are completely possible for 2006.”

Keene was from Virginia Beach, VA, when he moved to Stowe in 1983 to ski but quickly became a snowboarder. He competed for several years before becoming a coach.

“I’m a better coach than I was a competitor,” he laughed, “but I grew up in a navy family and we didn’t spend a lot of time near mountains. I moved to Stowe to learn to ski but I saw a guy with a snowboard in early 1984 and I never skied again.”

Keene and his wife Lucy live in Stowe with their two boys, Zach, 11, and Kyle, 6.