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Like sands through the hourglass, coaching changes continue

Andreas Puelacher is named the new head men's coach in Austria. GEPA/Andreas Pranter

Andreas Puelacher is named the new head men’s coach in Austria. GEPA/Andreas Pranter

As if yesterday’s shake up of Thomas Stauffer departing the women’s team staff in Germany wasn’t abrupt enough, today he has secured a new position as head men’s coach in Switzerland after the sudden resignation of Walter Hlebayna, who is stepping down for personal reasons.

“After a challenging and intense season, I’ve decided not to remain as head coach and announce my resignation for personal and private considerations,” said Hlebayna. He had been appointed to the position of head men’s coach last spring in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics after a disastrous 2013 season for the Swiss team. 

“I regret the sudden resignation of Walter Hlebayna and thank him for the great cooperation. Walter Hlebayna has done a very good job and was instrumental in the success of the men’s teams in the last season,” remarked Alpine Director Rudi Huber following the announcement of the resignation. 

Stauffer, the 45-year-old Swiss coach who was declined a contract renewal with the German women’s team, emerged as a possible candidate and the immediate solution to fill the vacancy.

“I was surprised by the short-term request for this position, but am even more [excited] for the new challenge with the Swiss team,” said Stauffer, who will switch over to the men’s side of the World Cup circuit in his new role.

“We are very pleased that we were able to commit Thomas Stauffer for this position in such a short time. With him, an absolute expert comes to our coaching staff, who perfectly knows Swiss skiing and brings an excellent track record,” said Huber regarding the hire.

Meanwhile in Austria, Andreas Puelacher will replace Mathias Berthold as head men’s coach. With 25 years of experience between Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, Puelacher most recently worked as a group coach with Matthias Mayer and Hannes Reichelt.

“Andreas Puelacher not only brings great experience and expertise, but also good social skills. He knows the structures with the Austrians for years and enjoys high recognition from fellow coaches and the whole ski industry,” said Hans Pum, director of the Austrian Ski Federation.

CJ Feehan

Web Editor

As a USSA Level 300 alpine coach and race official, Feehan spent over a decade training U14-FIS aged athletes at some of America's preeminent ski academies – Burke, Sugar Bowl, Killington – before joining the staff at Ski Racing as Web Editor. She resides in Burlington, Vt., when not living out of her duffel bag.

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