June 2020 Member Spotlight

Coach Lloyd Woodhouse

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the USA Shooting Board of Directors inducted Coach Lloyd Woodhouse into the USA Shooting Hall of Fame. 

 Throughout his 23-year career as coach of the Shotgun National Team, Woodhouse impacted thousands of people--athletes and coaches alike. 

 Woodhouse led six Olympic teams, six Pan American teams, six World Championship teams, numerous Olympic festivals, and several Championships of the America’s, and his athletes medaled over 428 times in the shotgun disciplines of trap, double trap and skeet.

 Besides his successful work with athletes, Woodhouse held clinics to train other coaches. 

 In 2005, USA Shooting Chairman of the Board Chad Whittenburg met Coach Woodhouse at one such Junior Olympic development camp in Colorado Springs. Part of the camp’s purpose was to teach coaches how to coach for the international games. 

“He was my first coach instructor into the international Olympic games. From then until now, I’ve called on him, and he’s mentored me,” said Whittenburg.

 “I didn’t get to know Lloyd until late in his coaching career. The biggest thing that I’ve gleaned from him is his positive attitude. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him say or be negative at all. Just his positive aura and positive love of the game. He is a good-natured man, and he truly loves people. This showed in his coaching style, and I think this is why he was able to get so much out of so many athletes over such a long period of time. Just Lloyd pouring into them and loving on them.”  

Besides his love for his athletes, Woodhouse really exuded a love for the sport itself.

Whittenburg explains, “It’s one thing to be in sport, and it’s one thing to compete. But if you really become a student of the game and you love the game, it enables you to get more mentally in the game. I think that’s what he tried to teach: the technical aspects and really loving the game.”

Whittenburg found this inspirational. “For me as a coach, I became a student of the game. [Woodhouse] encouraged me to shoot and learn what it feels like. We talk about ‘coaching trees’ in sports...all these good coaches that come off the same tree. I can’t tell you how many good coaches come from Lloyd’s tree. I’m proud to say I do,” said Whittenburg. 

While most tend to remember Woodhouse as a legendary coach, perhaps his widest-reaching accomplishment is the creation of the Junior Olympic (JO) Team in 1992. The Junior Olympic program reaches youth (ages 12-20), introducing them to the various Olympic disciplines and inspiring them.

“It’s huge,” said Whittenburg. “There’s thousands of kids across the country now that come in and out of that Junior Olympic program. This is a feeder program for the Olympics,” and many athletes discover the international shotgun sports through the program.

One such athlete was Frank Thompson. 

Thompson was around 14 years old when he met Woodhouse. Thompson said, “In 2003 or 2004, I drove out to Colorado Springs with a friend and got to work with Coach [Woodhouse] for a little bit.” At the time, “I didn’t even know [shooting] was a sport in the Olympics. I kind of knew archery was an Olympic sport when I found out shotgun was also an Olympic sport. I was really into shotgun at the time, but I’d only shot sporting clays.”

Once Thompson learned his love of shotgun could take him to the Olympics, the idea really began to grow on him, and he started developing his skills and pursued coaching.

 “Coach Woodhouse told me, ‘You can do a lot of different things, and you’ve got some talent. But if you want to do the international style, you’ve just got to work at it.’ What really sparked my interest was when he told me if I got good and made the team, I could live at the training center [in Colorado Springs] and train there.”

Thompson took this to heart. “I kept working at it, and after high school in 2006, I moved to the training center and trained almost every day. From his early years in the Junior Olympic program, Thompson went on to compete internationally, including competing in the past two Olympic games. Thompson attributes a lot of personal growth as well as improving his mental game to Woodhouse’s influence.

Thompson remembers, “I was always on [Woodhouse] to get out of the office to come help me. I had some things I couldn’t quite figure out. I wanted to grow, and he was always willing to move his schedule around to help me out, and that made such a big difference for me.”

 Woodhouse coached Thompson until his retirement in 2008. Since that time, Woodhouse has become more of a mentor and friend to Thompson than a coach, and the two still keep in touch. Thompson said that even after he retired, Woodhouse continued to work with younger people in the area who wanted to train. “He was always trying to help kids and grow the sport,” Thompson said. “He’s pretty special in my mind.”

Coach Lloyd Woodhouse is pretty special in a lot of people’s minds, and his wide influence on the sport is why he’s being inducted into the USA Shooting Hall of Fame.

Due to COVID-19 quarantine and restrictions on large group gatherings, the induction ceremony looked different than in other years. Woodhouse hadn’t been out of his home for a while, so the Board of Directors planned an intimate, surprise ceremony for him at a banquet hall at a nearby hotel. Attendance was limited to the USA Shooting Board of Directors, staff members, and a few of his past athletes and family members.

USA Shooting Chairman of the Board Chad Whittenburg said, “There wasn’t a big crowd. We were all wearing masks. It took a minute for him to adjust emotionally. He still didn’t know why he was there, but he started seeing his friends and hugging people. I walked to the podium and read the [induction] proclamation, and it absolutely floored him.” 

Coach Woodhouse is the 32nd inductee into the USA Shooting Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon those who have either excelled in international competition or have served the U.S. Shooting Team in administrative or coaching positions. The Board plans to hold the full Hall of Fame induction and typical larger banquet for Coach Woodhouse once social distancing restrictions and COVID-19 concerns are alleviated.