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October 02, 2017

USA Archery Congratulates 2017 Coach of the Year Award Recipients

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - USA Archery is proud to congratulate our 2017 Coach of the Year Award recipients. These USA Archery member-voted awards recognize dedication and excellence in coaches who have had major impact in the last year.

For 2017, in support of USA Archery's strategic plans, we created separate awards for male and female coaches in each category and we received a record number of nominations. In addition to USA Archery recognition at the next Coach Symposium, the volunteer and developmental coaches of the year will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee for their annual coach of the year awards.

James Madison University's Coach Andy Puckett (Harrisonburg, Virginia) was awarded the Volunteer Coach of the Year Award.  A Volunteer Coach of the Year is a coach who does not receive payment in any form for their involvement in coaching. 

Puckett's students shared: "Coach Puckett especially shows his coaching skills and love for the sport when he gives a speech before Outdoor Nationals each year. He encourages us to shoot our best and no matter what happens, we should be proud to be at the tournament. He is available during tournaments for equipment and encouragement needs, and is a source of both humor and inspiring words. He is excellent at encouraging the team and has an unparalleled knowledge of the sport both equipment-wise and mental game-wise."

A Developmental Coach of the Year nominee is a coach of a youth club, high school or junior-level coach, or a coach directly responsible for coaching athletes to the junior or elite level. This year, there was a tie for the male winner of this award between Gabriel Querol (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) and Gary Neal (Beaver Dams, New York), while Heather Pfeil (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) was awarded the female Developmental Coach of the Year Award.

Pfeil, who has been involved in the sport for nearly two decades, came up in the Junior Olympic Archery Development program and now helps run the JOAD program for the Lancaster Archery Academy. Under Heather's coaching, this JOAD program has grown into one of the largest in the country and its archers have seen great success on the podiums at local, state and national events this year.

Pfeil's nominator shared: "Ask any archer from the Lancaster Archery Academy or Lancaster Archery Team about the best quality of the program, and the first thing they will tell you is how fortunate we are to be coached by Heather. Even though we get to shoot at a prestigious facility surrounded by archers and coaches with impeccable accomplishments and credentials, the overriding factor that brings us all together is our coach!"

Querol, who coaches at Chicago Bow Hunters, has led his JOAD and adult archers to podium finishes at several state championships as well as Indoor and JOAD National Target Championships. His nominator commented: "In all my years knowing and working with Coach Gabe, I cannot remember a time when he hasn't been in a good, positive mood. Even when he's in the middle of practicing for his own competitions, when asked, he drops everything for a team member with patience and a ready smile. He provides instruction and feedback in a positive manner. He's amazingly adept and finding each child's strength and using it to build not only their skill, but their confidence."

Neal's archers at the Northeast Archery Academy have had several top placements at state championships in their tristate area and have been working their way through USA Archery's Achievement Award Program. His nomination noted: "With his guidance from working with athletes from the very beginning levels all the way through high level development, his passion and knowledge of the sport fuels many of these athletes to stay engaged. Also as a voice of reason in many aspects, Coach Neal is a huge advocate for amateurs within the sport. His outreach within the community easily lights the competitive fire within the athletes and they become very self-driven to become better and have the utmost amount of confidence in themselves."

A National Coach of the Year nominee is a coach of an Elite Level Club, Collegiate, Pan-Am, World Championship or Olympic Games coach or the coach of an elite athlete who competes at the highest level of your sport. This year, USA Archery awards this honor to Holly Stover (Brighton, Michigan) and Steve Yee (Phoenix, Arizona).

Stover, a coach for the Junior Dream Team program, has had archers achieve tremendous success in local, state and national competitions, and within the USA Archery high performance pipeline. Several of Stover's archers shared praise for her coaching. Colleen Drake said: "Holly Stover has influenced my life in so many positive ways since I've known her. Holly believes in me and pushes me to be not only a good archer but also a good person. Holly's positivity and belief in me has driven me to train harder and I have a newfound sense of confidence that I never had before knowing her."

Brianna Laux added: "Holly is the greatest coach I have ever had. As one of her students, I find her very inspirational. She was the first coach that really helped me make sense out of archery. Holly is the first coach who pushed me to be a better version of myself. Holly is the only coach that has always stayed in my corner as much as possible.She taught me that I need to be confident in my form, confident in my capabilities, and positive about my shortcomings; having Holly as a coach has made me more confident in myself, and forced me to believe in myself."

Male National Coach of the Year, Steve Yee is a coach for the Compound Junior Dream Team Program and his archers have had podium placements at indoor and outdoor state championships this year. His son, Spencer, also medaled at JOAD Outdoor Nationals this year.

Yee's nomination shared: "Steve instills in his archer the skills to be successful. Individually and instinctively he knows how to reach the archer on a personal level and intensely listens to debrief each one after tournaments. Steve has not only instilled discipline and independence in their archery goals, but life skills as well. These goals are individualized, achievable, and realistic. The patience and values Steve instills in his archers is remarkable. It is not just about the win, but more importantly how the shot feels and did they apply what they have learned. That is what continues to drive our children to improve their techniques and approach to the next target, taking one arrow at a time."

USA Archery thanks all our hard-working coaches who dedicate so much time and effort to growing our sport and helping our archers reach their goals. What we do as an organization would not be possible without the support of our coaches. USA Archery sincerely shares our congratulations to each of our Coach of the Year Award winners. For more information on USA Archery's instructor and coach program opportunities please visit

Congratulations again to our Coach of the Year Award Winners:

  • Male Volunteer Coach of the Year: Andy Puckett
  • Male Developmental Coaches of the Year: Gabriel Querol and Gary Neal
  • Female Developmental Coach of the Year: Heather Pfeil
  • Male National Coach of the Year: Steve Yee
  • Female National Coach of the Year: Holly Stover

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