Andy LeRoy, who was an Olympian, All-American, and individual national champion while a student-athlete at the University of Colorado, has been named the fifth head ski coach since the sport became coed in 1983 for the Buffaloes, athletic director Rick George announced Thursday.
LeRoy will succeed Richard Rokos, 70, who is retiring this spring after 35 years with the university, the last 31 as head coach, one of the longest tenures of any head coach in NCAA skiing as well as the third-longest head coaching reign in CU athletic history. LeRoy will officially take over the program on Friday, March 19.
Rokos recruited LeRoy to Colorado as a student-athlete, where he was an All-American and individual NCAA champion; he was the co-recipient of CU’s Male Athlete of the Year honors in 2000. This will be LeRoy’s third stint at Colorado, as he was also Rokos’ assistant alpine coach in 2002.
“I am so excited for this opportunity, for myself as a professional and for my family,” LeRoy said. “I know the gravity of this position and the history of CU, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and to raise the level of college ski racing to heights never seen before. To have the full support of such an outstanding administration and alumni network, we are going to do some amazing things in the years to come.”
LeRoy, 45, returns to CU from the University of Denver, where he led the alpine team and was the head coach for the past 15 seasons, leading the Pioneers to six NCAA championships in his tenure. With Rokos’ retirement, LeRoy becomes the leader for NCAA championships won among active collegiate head coaches. Rokos coached the Buffaloes to eight NCAA championships during his 31 seasons, including in his very first year in 1991.
“I’m happy to announce that Andy LeRoy will be the new head coach of the CU Ski Team,” George said. “Andy has had great success at the University of Denver and we’re ecstatic he has decided to come home to Colorado and will no longer be competing against us. As a former Buff, Andy is very familiar with our program as both a student-athlete and a coach. We’re excited to welcome him, his wife Julie, and their two kids Andrew and Lydia to the CU family.”
LeRoy’s six titles rank fifth all-time in the NCAA, behind only Denver’s Willie Schaeffler (13), Utah’s Pat Miller (nine), and two CU coaches, Rokos and Bill Marolt (seven). Since the sport went coed in 1983, LeRoy’s crown count is third, behind only Miller and Rokos.
Among active head coaches, LeRoy is four ahead of any other coach, as another former Rokos assistant coach, Fredrik Landstedt, is next with two, including leading Utah to the 2021 title last week. Cami Thompson Graves (Dartmouth, 2007) and Bill Reichelt (Vermont, 2012) are the only other active coaches to lead their teams to an NCAA championship.
Since LeRoy was hired at DU in 2006 ahead of the 2007 season, either the Buffs or Pioneers have won nine of the 14 National Championships in that span (the 2020 championship was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). On top of his six overall NCAA Championships, LeRoy’s alpine teams have led the NCAA Championships in most alpine points, the mythical Alpine National Championship, in 11 of his 15 seasons there, including each of the last nine seasons if you count the abbreviated 2020 event in which no team title was awarded. Denver also scored the most alpine points at the NCAA Championships in his first two seasons and three of his first four in 2007, ‘08 and ‘10.
LeRoy has also had success at the regional level, winning three NCAA West Regional titles, including his first season in 2007 and two of the last four in 2018 and ‘20. The 2020 win was especially dramatic as his slalom skiers swept the women’s podium and finished first and third on the men’s side to turn a 20-point deficit to Utah into a 10-point victory and the overall title. He has also coached the Pioneers to two RMISA regular season championships (2007, 2014), while his alpine teams have scored the most regular-season points nine times in his career, including seven straight seasons from 2013-19.
In his time at DU, his alpine skiers have racked up 89 All-America honors, including 62 first-team All-America selections, and 22 Individual NCAA Champions, all three marks being the best of any alpine team in the NCAA over that span. The 22 alpine titles over that span equates to 38% of the possible titles in that span an is, in fact, equal to the next three schools totals combined. He has also coached five skiers at DU that have competed in the Olympics.
Rokos recruited LeRoy to ski for the Buffs for the 2000 season. After he graduated from high school in 1993, LeRoy joined the National Team for then-coach Bill Marolt, who would have the team train over the summers in Boulder. Over his six seasons on the National Team, he took summer classes at CU to get started on a degree, but that unfortunately also started his eligibility clock. By 2000 when he had left the National Team, he had one season of eligibility remaining, building enough hours to be a sophomore academically.
LeRoy made the most of his one season skiing collegiately, winning three slalom races, including the individual title at the NCAA Championships. He finished 11 of 12 races with 10 top 10 finishes and six top five finishes including five podium appearances and the three race wins. While a slalom specialist, he also had two podiums in GS races that season, taking second at the CU meet and third at the Montana State meet, the same meets he won his other two slalom races.
After his one college season was over, he was rejuvenated and gave professional skiing one more try, skiing for the 2001 season before retiring from competitive ski racing with nagging back injuries and a fifth knee surgery. He returned to CU and served as a volunteer coach for Rokos for part of the 2002 season while finishing his degree.
While a member of the U.S. National Team from 1993-99, he was on the Olympic Team in Nagano in 1998, participating in the slalom. He made eight starts on the World Cup and participated in Continental Cup races in Australia-New Zealand, Europe, and North America. He won four North American Cup slalom races, three in 1997 and two in 1998, and he was also the slalom champion at the British National Championships in 1998. At the U.S. National Championships, he finished third in both slalom and the overall alpine competition in 1998. He also won the NorAm slalom title in 1999.
After graduating from CU’s Leeds School of Business with a degree in Finance and compiling and a perfect 4.0 GPA in his major, and before becoming the coach at Denver, he returned home to Steamboat Springs to coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. In less than a year there, he was running the alpine program and was named Rocky Mountain Regional Coach of the Year in 2005 and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Coach of the Year in 2006.
As a junior skier, he was a two-time member of the World Junior Team with three top 10 finishes in competition and was an eight-time Junior Olympic Medalist (including four gold medals). He also held the longest win streak in Rocky Mountain Trophy Series with eight straight victories.
LeRoy was born June 24, 1975, in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School while skiing for the storied Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He is married to the former Julie Barron and the couple has two children, Andrew and Lydia.
George was assisted on the search for the new ski coach by Marolt, CU’s former ski coach (1969-78) and athletic director and former All-American and CU Hall of Famer Bruce Gamble.
Release courtesy of the University of Colorado.