Miami mourns the loss of long-time skating coach, synchronized skating pioneer, Vicki Korn

Korn ushered the RedHawks into the varsity era and won 15 national championships


Vicki Korn

Miami Athletics is saddened to report the death of long-time head synchronized skating coach Vicki Korn, Thursday, April 9.

Korn spent 25 years (1984-2009) coaching Miami skating, beginning at the club level and ushering in its current era as the varsity synchronized skating program it is today. She won a combined 15 national championships, including 14 at the varsity level. Under Korn’s leadership, Miami’s senior program qualified for eight International Skating Union World Championships over her last nine seasons.

“We are all saddened to hear of the passing of Vicki Korn," said Director of Athletics David Sayler. "The Korn family name is synonymous with Miami University and Miami University Athletics. Vicki's career and accomplishments are legendary and put our synchronized skating program on the map — well beyond the footprint of Southwest Ohio and the United States — in the world. As impressive as her accomplishments are, her impact on her student-athletes was greater. Our hearts go out to Ashley and Mitch and the rest of the Miami Family as we all mourn the loss of Vicki.”

Korn started out as Miami’s skating director and coach of the synchronized skating program at the club level in 1984. As a club program, Korn guided Miami to a national title at the junior level in 1993 and two bronze medals at the senior level (1994, 1995).

In 1995-96, Korn began the first of many ground-breaking achievements as the program was upgraded to a varsity sport at Miami, becoming the nation's first collegiate senior-level synchronized skating program. At the varsity level, Korn led Miami to three national titles at the senior level (1999, 2006, 2009) and 11 national titles at the collegiate level (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). At the time of her retirement in 2009, the RedHawks had won five-straight collegiate national championships, a streak that extended to a U.S. Figure Skating record 12 by 2016.

“This is a heartbreaking loss,” said Carla DeGirolamo, head coach. “Vicki was a true visionary who pioneered collegiate skating and revolutionized synchronized skating. Her passion for the sport and for life was evident in all she did. Vicki cared deeply for her athletes and had an exceptional eye for talent. She enriched the lives of so many women and empowered us all to expect and achieve excellence. I will be forever grateful that she took a chance on me and helped shape me into the woman I am today. As a program, Miami skating will continue to passionately strive for greatness and keep pushing to grow the sport in Vicki's honor.”

Korn led the RedHawks to a world championship

Under the direction of Korn, the 2006-07 senior team made U.S. Synchronized Skating history at the International Skating Union World Championships. With a second-place finish at the world championships, Miami achieved the highest ever finish for a United States team with its silver medal.

The 2006-07 season also had another first as the senior team became the first United States synchronized skating program to compete in the World University Games at the inaugural event in Torino, Italy.

Her landmark accomplishments were not reserved for team honors alone. Korn also has garnered several esteemed individual accolades.

After guiding the RedHawks to the first national title in any varsity team sport in 1997, Korn was honored as the PSA Synchronized Skating Coach of the Year. She is one of just 26 elite individuals with Miami University ties to earn national coach of the year accolades at either the collegiate or professional levels and was the first female to achieve the feat (one of two overall).

Korn again captured PSA Synchronized Skating Coach of the Year recognition in 1999. With Miami's landmark finish at the 2007 ISU World Championships, Korn not only was named PSA Synchronized Skating Coach of the Year but was honored as the PSA/U.S. Figure Skating Coach of the Year, which encompasses all coaches of all divisions and levels of figure skating.

Her effect on the sport can be felt well beyond the tremendous impact she has made at Miami University. Numerous Miami alumnae who have skated under Korn have gone on to careers either coaching or serving as U.S. Figure Skating officials. Korn has served on the board of directors of both the United States Figure Skating Association and the Ice Skating Institute. Korn was instrumental in forming the Collegiate Skating Program and served as its first Chairperson at US Figure Skating.

Among those alumnae still impacting the sport is her daughter, Ashley, who skated at Miami, earning four national titles. Ashley has coached the University of Michigan to three national titles in addition to coaching the Hockettes Synchronized Skating Teams.

“Vicki had an incredible work ethic and was an outstanding teacher and coach,” Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Cady said. “An important part of her legacy is the number of people that she has inspired to stay involved and grow the sport. We are all saddened by her passing, she will be sorely missed and we hope she is in a better place.”

Korn’s family along with the Miami Synchronized Skating program plan to honor her life and legacy at a future date. Information on any future services or memorials will be shared as it becomes available.

Gifts may be made in Vicki Korn’s memory to the newly established US Figure Skating’s “Synchronized Skating Athlete Support Fund” online or by mail at U.S. Figure Skating, 20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.

Miami skating will continue to honor her memory and accomplishments over the coming weeks via social media and invite others to do the same.