PLYMOUTH, N.H. - It has been quite a year already for Plymouth State University's Kim Bownes.
PSU's alpine ski coach the past 21 years, Bownes received the prestigious Walter Smith Coaches Award in January at the Parade of Champions banquet in Manchester, N.H. In February, Bownes was named Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference MacConnell Division Coach of the Year after leading the Panther skiers to strong finishes at the Eastern Regional Championships. Last week, Bownes led the PSU men and women to second- and third-place finishes at the United State Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association's National Championships, matching the Panthers' best finishes in Bownes' distinguished coaching tenure.
After achieving such success in the coaching profession, Bownes was promoted this month to the new position of Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator at Plymouth State. It is a new position in the athletics department that will include budget and facilities management responsibilities. The new position marks the end of Bownes' illustrious ski coaching career.
"The position of Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator is very common with college and university athletic programs," said PSU athletic director John P. Clark. "I am elated that we have established this full-time position and that Kim Bownes will serve as the first person in the position. She has a long history as a highly-respected coach, educator and role model for students. Combined with her exceptional administrative skills, she is the perfect person to fill the position."
Bownes, who will still be involved in the administration of various skiing organizations as well as her duties at PSU, is excited about her new position.
"I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I'm thrilled to look to the future," said Bownes. "The exciting part is that I can have an influence on the lives and successes of more student-athletes than just the skiers."
While Bownes has already begun her new administrative duties, leaving her successful coaching career has not been easy.
"I've been a coach my entire life," said Bownes. "From the moment I got a job I've been defined as a ski coach. But coaching ski racing is a physically demanding job. That's why you don't see a lot of older people in the profession, especially older women. While I am very excited, enthusiastic and fortunate for this new opportunity, I have mixed feelings about moving away from coaching."
The Panther ski teams have won numerous Eastern Regional Championships and qualified for the USCSA National Championships all of Bownes' 21 years, but it's the relationships that have meant the most to her.
"I'm very proud of having coached a skiing program that so many alumni are proud of," said Bownes. "We have many PSU people working in the ski industry, and they are all so proud to have skied at Plymouth State. There were many memorable moments on the mountain, but it's the relationships that have meant the most over my career. When student-athletes thank you after they graduate, that's the best."
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