November 7, 2009 -- Their names are synonymous with excellence in their respective disciplines, and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has honored two legends for their commitment to coaching and developing Equestrian Sport.
George Morris is one of the most accomplished coaches in the world. He has coached back-to-back Olympic Gold medal teams and consistently guides the U.S. show jumping program to victory across the globe. In 2009, he commandeered a runner-up finish in the Meydan FEI Nations' Cup, with his teams winning two legs of the most prestigious jumping tour in the world. His expertise and steadfast determination in the most intense competition is legendary and his faith in his athletes delivers huge success.
Individually, U.S. show jumping athletes won classes at the most prestigious horse shows on the calendar. Ashlee Bond, in only her second season of representing the U.S., won at CSIO Aachen in July, and McLain Ward (a member of both gold medal winning Olympic teams) scored a major victory at CSIO Spruce Meadows in September, winning the CN International.
For his success in 2009, Morris has been named the USEF National Coach of the Year.
Phillip Dutton is one of the most storied eventing riders on the circuit and is a tour de force on the field of play. His commitment to ensuring the future of the sport is intact is evident by the time he spends coaching, teaching and training. Dozens of the top up-and-coming riders in eventing train with Dutton, who has been named the USEF Developmental Coach of the Year for 2009. His will to win and dedication to the sport is contagious. His students produce results at every major competition and three of the top 10 riders in the country train with Dutton--standings which he himself leads by nearly 300 points.
As a result of this honor, Morris and Dutton are the USEF's nominees for the 2009 U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Coach of the Year Award. This is an important part of the USOC's Coaching Recognition Program which acknowledges coaches for their contributions to teams' successes throughout the year. The USOC will review nominees from all National Governing Bodies and select a winner in each category (National and Developmental).