Fort Wright resident Debbie Ogden named 2022 Special Olympics Kentucky Coach of the Year
Debbie Ogden of Ft. Wright has been named 2022 Coach of the Year by Speciaas the organization’s 2022 Coach of the Year.
The award is presented annually to the coach who most exemplifies the Spirit of Special Olympics.
The award was presented during a Luncheon at the Special Olympics Kentucky office in Frankfort on Thursday.
Ogden began her Special Olympics coaching career in 2007 and in her 16 years with the program has focused exclusively on swimming. On the local level, she continues to lead the largest swimming delegation in the state. Her Northern Kentucky Dolphins program boasts nearly 100 swimmers, many of whom have gone on to compete at the USA and World Games levels. She has also used her Dolphins program to help train future coaches.
As the head swimming coach for Team Kentucky, she held weekly practices for her athletes, who came from as far away as Louisville and Lexington to participate. The extra work showed at the 2022 USA Games in June in Orlando, where Kentucky swimmers won six medals, including two individual gold medals, and team gold in the 4×50-meter medley relay.
Following the USA Games, she was named the head swimming coach for the Special Olympics USA team that will compete at the 2023 World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany, her first World Games experience.
Beyond her coaching duties, she has provided vital support to SOKY staff, serving on the sport development committee for swimming and helping to teach new staff how to use the swim meet software and ensuring that meets run smoothly.
Away from the pool, she is an annual participant in the Greater Cincinnati Polar Plunge, raising more than $3,000 a year at the event.
Ogden works at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she is the Senior Executive Assistant in the Department of Development.
In addition to the Coach of the Year award, Special Olympics Kentucky also named its 2022 Athlete of the Year, Athlete Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Awards at the same event. The Athlete of the Year Award went to Caitlin Roy of Finchville. Nicholasville’s Phillip Riley was named Athlete Volunteer of the Year and Brian Parsley of Prospect was named Volunteer of the Year.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation in competitive events is open to all individuals eight years of age or older. Training and competition in local, area, state, and national programs is offered year-round in Kentucky in 15 sports.
In addition to its traditional sports competitions, Special Olympics also offers early childhood programming through the Young Athletes Program and medical screenings through the Healthy Athletes Initiative. Special Olympics Kentucky began as a one-day event in Louisville in 1970 and has expanded to serve more than 10,200 athletes statewide annually. Special Olympics celebrated the 50th anniversary of the global movement in 2018.
From Special Olympics Kentucky