~PARK CITY, Utah~
U.S. Snowboarding Freestyle National Development Coach Robert “Bud” Keene is retiring after two seasons where he implemented a successful rookie program, and helped coach Shaun White to yet another Olympic gold, announced U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster.
“Bud has elevated the level of our U.S. Snowboarding development program tremendously,” said Forster. “He established a deliberate strategy to work with all U.S. riders, regardless of their U.S. Snowboarding affiliation, knowing that a strong coach/rider relationship would be one of the keys to success during the Olympics – and that was achieved. I am stoked to have had the opportunity to work with him again and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Keene grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, but moved to Stowe, VT, in 1983 to ski. He quickly became a snowboarder, riding in competition for several winters before turning to coaching after the 1989 season. He coached throughout the Nineties with the Mount Mansfield Ski & Snowboard Club before joining U.S. Snowboarding after the 2002 Olympic season.
In his four years as U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe head coach, he led the team to two gold and two silver medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics. After a two year retirement, Keene returned in 2008 to lead the youth of the sport. Bringing his 2006 Olympic experience for the Rookie Team had a profound impact.
“The timing is right for me to step away from the day-to-day of coaching the Rookie Team,” Keene said. “Everything is playing out exactly as it should be. I am really looking forward to continuing my strong involvement and influence within the sport, but on a different level. U.S. Snowboarding is an organization that I have helped to build, and that I love. I’ll never walk away from it.”
At the 2002 Winter Games, Keene coached the halfpipe forerunners – a group which included the young Hannah Teter, who recently went on to capture the gold medal in Torino with Keene by her side. Keene also played a pivotal role coaching Shaun White to both his 2006 and 2010 gold medals.
Now, Keene will move on to a family business in Vermont, which will enable him to work closely with his brothers.
“My brothers have strong businesses in Northern Vermont, and they have always wanted me to come and partner with them when I was done with this and ready to come home,” Keene said. “I’m not exactly done, but I am going home for now. I need a life, and to be a better Dad to my two boys.”
But don’t count Keene as one who will watch the Sochi Olympics from home. The man who was a personal coach to White for his past two Olympic seasons may have something up his sleeve.
“It’s early yet, but Shaun and I are just beginning to talk about the next few years and the 2014 Games in Russia,” Keene said.