USA Shooting Adds Paralympic Coach; Integrates Other Staff Functions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 9, 2016)

USA Shooting's new National Paralympic Coach Armando AyalaUSA Shooting announced today that Armando Ayala (San Antonio, Texas) has been named National Paralympic Coach. Staff realignment has also taken place within the communications, marketing, fundraising, merchandise and membership functions of the organization.  The changes will help create greater integration and synergy with constituent communication and functionality. 

Ayala, who had served as Paralympic Section coach for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), as well as served as National Paralympic Assistant Coach since the 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships, has taken over the national coaching duties following Bob Foth’s move to the Resident Rifle Coach position earlier this year. Read about previous USA Shooting staff changes here. 

Ayala inherits a team that included a record eight competitors at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.  The program will look to build off a performance that included two event finalists and the first Paralympic medal earned in USA Shooting program history after McKenna Dahl became the first U.S. female to earn a shooting medal with bronze in Mixed Prone Rifle. 

Ayala competed in Three-Position Rifle throughout his junior, high school and college career. Once he was recruited into the USAMU, he competed in Running Target for 11 years, then went back to Three-Position Rifle once Running Target was eliminated from the Olympic program. As a Running Target shooter, he won two World Cup medals, four CAT Games medals and two Pan American Games medals. Ayala later competed on the High Power Team, but when asked to coach the then newly-formed Paralympic Section, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“We are very pleased to have Armando join USA Shooting’s Paralympic Program,” said Dave Johnson, USA Shooting’s Interim CEO. “Armando provides a unique skill set with his experience as an elite athlete on the U.S. Team, his Army résumé, as well as an assistant coach at the 2016 Paralympic Games.”

Ayala’s first introduction to Paralympic sport was through fellow soldier and 2012 Paralympian Josh Olson, who competed in the international rifle section for USAMU. When Ayala took over the section, he recruited soldiers to become shooters and trained them for Paralympic competition for three years before he retired from the Army.

“We are – without a doubt – focused on winning,” Ayala said about his goals moving forward. “Bob [Foth] did great job at building a big team and creating an awesome foundation. It was monumental getting eight shooters to the Games! It was a huge team compared to what we had before, so it was extremely successful in that aspect.  Now, the goal is taking our athletes to that next level altogether, a concerted effort just not on getting to the Paralympics, but winning and earning medals. This time around, we’re going to be prepared to win. Their focus will be on winning in the end. Not getting there, not just getting to the Final, strictly on winning.”

Kevin Neuendorf now becomes the Director of Marketing Communications for the organization, adding marketing and sponsor responsibilities to his portfolio while also continuing to direct all communication aspects of the organization including magazine, website, social media and media relations as he has for the past five years.  Jessica Delos Reyes, now in her fourth year, was promoted to Associate Director of Marketing Communications.  She’ll maintain her role as Editor of USA Shooting News, help oversee the communication functions of the organization while also adding marketing and sponsor relations to her job responsibilities. 

Patsy Woods was hired in December as a Manager of Marketing and Resource Development and is helping drive the fundraising and development initiatives for USA Shooting. She’s spent the past 15 years in Advancement Services and Development working the previous 1.5 years as Development Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs.  Prior to that, Woods spent 10 years as a Foundations Relations Specialist for Colorado College where she was directly involved with securing $1M+ each year in scholarship programs, while managing 100-plus fundraising events every year, and overseeing two different scholarship programs involving 70 students. 

The reorganization also includes an increase in responsibility for Amber Aragon who will maintain direction of USA Shooting’s merchandise and membership programs while increasing her role in marketing, development and special events. 

“I’ve been most proud of how our staff has stepped up with new ideas to meet challenges and the goals we have set,” Johnson stated. “Most of our reorganization has been a result of ideas from within. We’ve seen a resurgence in effort and excitement as people fill new and evolving roles. We are a small group that gets a lot done in a multi-faceted organization—and that takes a lot of energy and support using a group effort on most tasks.”

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