Mission Viejo wheelchair tennis coach Jason Harnett received the Order of Ikkos medal – the most prestigious award a coach can receive at the Olympic or Paralympic Games. The award, also bestowed on Coach Dan James of Minneapolis, came from two players who yesterday were named the “USA Paralympic Team of the Year.”
The Order of Ikkos medal was established in early 2008 to recognize coaches for their integral part in the success of their Olympians. It is not tradition for the International Olympic Committee to recognize or reward the coaches of medal-winning athletes. As such, the USOC Coaching Education Department decided that the Ikkos medal would be the perfect way to recognize American coaches who contribute to the success of their athletes.
Jason and Dan have been the National Team coaches since wheelchair tennis came under the auspicious of the United States Tennis Association in 1998. Dan is the national head coach, with Jason serving as head coach for the Quadriplegic Team. Jason has been a tennis instructor at City of Mission Viejo Tennis Centers since 1996.
“Unbelievable honor for us coaches,” Jason said via e-mail. “It’s pretty cool since Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) received one from the U.S. Basketball team.”