Olympic Coach now SNU freestyle ski coach

Jax McLaren, Reporter

Robert “Bud” Keene is a five-time Olympic
winning coach and former national
head coach of the United States, China,
and New Zealand. He has coached multiple
gold, silver, and bronze medal winners,
as well as winners of the XGAMES,
US Grand Prix, Vans Triple Crown Series,
USCSA Nationals, and Dew Tour. Now he
will be coaching SNU’s freestyle ski team.
Keene is best known for coaching the
snowboarder with the most Olympic gold
medals, Shaun White.
“In 2005 I met with Shaun [White] and
his brother in New Zealand and we had
dinner,” Keene said. “We agreed to team
up because we felt he was the best rider
and I was the best coach and our union
would be powerful.”
Following that dinner they went on to
the 2006 Olympics together where White
won his first gold medal and Keene won
the 2006 US Olympic Committee National
Coach of the Year for all sports, winter
and summer.
For the past two years Keene and his
wife Alex Sharpe-Keene had been living in
Telluride, Colorado, but always wanted to
end up in the Tahoe area. They had been
looking for houses and finally found one
in Verdi, Nevada near Reno after years
of searching. The couple have two adult
children, Zac and Kyle.
Once Keene and his wife settled down
in Verdi, he searched around and found
SNU. He reached out to Athletic Director
Chris DeLeon and worked out a position
at the college.
“I went on the website and emailed a
few people, and Chris [DeLeon] is the one
who got back to me,” Keene said.
DeLeon and Keene have been in constant
contact since then and share the
same ideas for the future of the freestyle
ski and snowboard teams.
“I gave him my vision and he can totally
see it,” DeLeon said. “We have the potential
to have some good athletes go to competitions
like the Dew Tour, XGAMES, or
any kind of national competition.”
Keene’s current official position at the
college is Head Freestyle Ski Coach. He
has also been helping Head Freestyle
Snowboard Coach Ty Casey with recruiting
due to his many connections in the
sport.
“Ty [Casey] is helping to guide me into
what’s going on at SNU. He and I have a
great relationship and I’m stoked to be
working with him,” Keene said.
“I didn’t know Bud [Keene] personally
before he started working here,” Casey
said. “So I’ve just been taking this as a
huge learning opportunity.”
Casey and Keene have been meeting to
talk about ways they feel they can bring
the snow sports to a higher level of competition.
“With the resources we have here in
Tahoe, there’s unlimited potential on our
teams.” Keene said. “I know these kids are
capable of it. Now we just have to see how
far we can push it.”
Keene also runs global summer, spring,
and fall training camps for freestyle snow
athletes that are starting soon. He is hoping
that some of our athletes take part in
that as well as dryland training to stay in
shape year-round and get the upper hand
on the opponents for next season.