I found a story on the German Yahoo news site that might be of interest.
My translation follows:
Nov. 27, 2003
Ingo Steuer Ends Coaching Career
Former pairs world champion Ingo Steuer will, for personal reasons, end
his recently begun coaching career at the end of the season. To this end,
according to the German Skating Union (DEU), the 37-year-old has already
requested his discharge from the German Army's "sports company."
A final effort by DEU president Reinhard Mirmseker and sport director Udo
Dönsdorf to change his mind was unsuccessful. Steuer coaches three pairs
in Chemnitz, among them German champions Eva-Maria Fitze and Rico Rex.
"I've asked for a time-out because the work has just become too much. I'm
falling apart humanly," Steuer told the dpa [German news agency]. His
decision to stop after the world championships in March in Dortmund, where
Steuer became European champion in 1995 with his partner Mandy Wötzel, is
also related to the fact that he recently became a father and his family
lives in Berlin. "I'm there for my athletes round the clock; I can't do
that anymore," said Steuer, who is in his third season of coaching and was
viewed by the crisis-ridden DEU as their great hope for the future.
At the beginning of this winter, the DEU, together with the four-time
German champion, developed a "pairs skating concept" that was to bring at
least one world-class competitive pair to the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin.
Only this past summer did the DEU get a position for Steuer, as coach, in
the army's sports company. Following Steuer's decision, which was
"surprising and disappointing," the federation must now find a new
approach for the success of the promising pairs in Chemnitz.
"It simply can't be that all hopes are hung on me. I always did
everything alone, and no one listened to me," said Steuer, who has been
asking for an assistant coach for some time now. He wants to work
together with the DEU to find a solution, and is offering his help: "I
haven't left this earth yet, and I'll definitely return, even if my
time-out takes a year." Without the financial security of the military
position, Steuer wants to skate in more shows with Mandy Wötzel next year.
Other stories, no new details:
Official fanclub (not yet updated) with cute picture of Ingo as Austin
Some additional information off the top of my head:
The three pairs currently coached by Ingo are Eva-Maria Fitze/Rico Rex,
Nicole Nönnig/Matthias Bleyer, and Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy.
The use of the army's "sports company" to provide a source of income for
athletes is a common practice in Germany and other countries. Many of the
current German skaters are now in said sports company, and do, in fact,
have to take time out for basic training and other commitments.
I hadn't heard of the practice used for coaches, but I'm not surprised.
The DEU really had put all their hopes on Steuer, and coaches appear to be
civil servants working for the DEU but are now paid based on medal count
rather than hours worked (some incentive program, eh?). Most of the
coaches I've read about have other professions (e.g., architect). At some
point I'd like to get more details about how the system works.
I wish Ingo all the best in trying to prioritize his life. I've been in
his position (everyone assumes you'll fix a major problem but doesn't do
much to help), and it's no fun. Kudos to him for recognizing his physical
and mental limits and stepping back. A very wise senior IBM executive
once told me that once you've started working regular overtime to cover
for shortcomings in the system, it becomes expected (most often without
credit). He advised that the only way to get help and save yourself is to
let the system fail. (In my case, I couldn't let the system fail, and my
health suffered for it. I did finally just quit.)
Best wishes to Ingo!!