Former Olympian and U.S. Ski Team member Andrew Johnson is heading to the University of Vermont as the new assistant coach of the school’s cross-country ski program.
Johnson did not respond to a request for comment, but UVM Head Coach Patrick Weaver confirmed on Monday morning that Johnson had accepted a position with the university.
“We’re really excited to have him,” Weaver said.
The assistant coaching job is full-time, but Johnson will also be able to take classes at the university and work towards his master’s degree, which was one of his goals, Weaver said.
Johnson’s hiring completes a reshuffling of the UVM coaching staff, which began this spring when former head coach Paul Stone was demoted and replaced by Weaver, who had been the assistant coach.
Stone was to continue with the program as the assistant, but he left this summer to take the head coaching job at the University of Maine, Presque Isle.
Long one of the east’s top ski program’s, UVM has five NCAA championships to its name–all of which came in the 1980s and 1990s. The school placed second at NCAA’s in 2005, but has finished no better than fifth since then.
The addition of Johnson to the UVM program makes the team’s coaching staff the fastest in the nation—at least among collegiate programs. Both Johnson and Weaver are two-time Olympians, Johnson in 2002 and 2006, and Weaver in 1998 and 2002.
Hailing from Greensboro, Vermont, Johnson competed for Middlebury College before leaving in 1999 to race full time with the U.S. Ski Team. He collected multiple national championships over the course of his career.
On the World Cup, Johnson’s only individual top-30 result came in a 30 k freestyle race in 2001 at Soldier Hollow, while his best finish at the Olympics was 21st in the same event at the same venue a year later.
After the 2006 Games, Johnson scaled back his competitive career, with stints working as an assistant coach at as the University of Utah and attending school there. Last year, Johnson competed under the aegis of the fledgling Steinbock Racing squad, finishing 19th at the American Birkebeiner and 33rd at the 15 k freestyle at U.S. Nationals.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.